Might We Find Life on Venus?

Artist’s impression of the planet Venus. (ESO/M. Kornmesser & NASA/JPL/Caltech via Reuters)
It’s too early to tell for sure, but innovative ways to explore the planet and its atmosphere could provide a much more complete picture.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O n September 17 a group of scientists using Earth-based telescopes announced that they had detected phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. On Earth, phosphine is almost always produced by microbial activity. While geological processes are known that can, in principle, produce phosphine, the concentrations of the gas found on Venus, while small, were nevertheless much too high to be attributable to such sources. So how could the phosphine hove gotten there? The simplest explanation is life.

But how is that possible? Venus is nearly a twin for Earth in size and 30 percent closer to the Sun. Because it is closer

Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer, is the founder of the Mars Society and the president of Pioneer Astronautics. His latest book is The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility.

Most Popular

Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More

Where We Go from Here

It is possible that Joe Biden hurt himself enough with his daft utopian talk of “transitioning” (what a funny recent career that word has had) Pennsylvania’s energy jobs into oblivion to cost himself the election. It is unlikely that Donald Trump will be reelected, though it was unlikely that he would be ... Read More

Where We Go from Here

It is possible that Joe Biden hurt himself enough with his daft utopian talk of “transitioning” (what a funny recent career that word has had) Pennsylvania’s energy jobs into oblivion to cost himself the election. It is unlikely that Donald Trump will be reelected, though it was unlikely that he would be ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More