Astrobiology - The Case for Venus

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G. A. Landis (2003), JBIS, 56, 250-254

Refcode: 2003.56.250
Keywords: Astrobiology, Venus, atmospheric science

A case is made that the planet Venus is of significant interest for the study of astrobiology. In particular, in the regions of the atmosphere roughly fifty kilometers above the mean surface, Venus exhibits the most Earthlike environment in the solar system. Four interesting questions concerning Venus are related to astrobiology: was there ever past life on Venus, in an era when the environment of Venus was more like that of present-day Earth? Can the study of the atmospheric evolution of Venus, and of atmospheric chemical precursors to biology, give insight into the origins and evolution of life? Is there present-day life in the atmosphere of Venus? And, finally, is Venus an environment suitable for future life, or an environment that can be made suitable for life in the future?

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