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The building blocks of life can withstand the clouds of sulfuric acid on Venus

The building blocks of life can withstand the clouds of sulfuric acid on Venus

We are not saying anything new when we say that Venus is not the Earth of humans. The atmospheric pressure and temperature are so high that they flatten and bake instantly. It's more likely in the planet's clouds, with its tropical climate and ground temperatures, but here the sulfuric acid would be a bit troublesome.

This is clearly an inhospitable place for us to be anywhere, but can any life survive? It turns out that there is new evidence that at least its basic components may remain intact IFLScience From his report.

Can the foundations of life withstand the conditions of Venus?

The group led by Professor Sarah Seager and her son investigated amino acids, the building blocks of proteins vital to life. The team was interested in how a highly acidic environment affects these molecules. According to the results, 11 out of 20 amino acids tested were unchanged, and only eight others were modified in their side chains after they were kept in an extremely high concentration of sulfuric acid for four weeks.

This latest work follows an earlier study by Seager on the stability of DNA bases in sulfuric acid. They make up DNA and RNA. They can also survive the harsh environment of Venus' clouds unharmed.

The chemical properties of concentrated sulfuric acid are so different from water that the results may seem unpredictable. Our results help challenge the common misconception in the astronomical and biological communities that organic chemicals are not uniformly stable in concentrated sulfuric acid.

Chemical stability is not equivalent to life, however, and researchers are immediately taking a different approach to this phenomenon that was previously thought impossible. The habitability of Venus's extinction, and the discovery of phosphine, is the subject of much debate. The molecule is produced by life forms on Earth, but it is not clear what creates it there.

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To understand what flows, or could flow, in the clouds of Venus, we need to travel there. Several missions to the second planet in the solar system have already been planned. The first will be a private project next year, but NASA and the European Space Agency plan to study the planet over the next decade.

“Venus is within reach, allowing us to study cloud particles directly with space missions,” the authors wrote in the study. “Perhaps it will be necessary to return samples of Venus’ atmosphere to determine the presence of life, if it exists there at all.”

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