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Signs of life on Venus?

All around the world are dawning headlines wondering if we have founds signs of life on Venus.

Despite the hunt for life on star systems that are lightyears from Earth, it turns out there may be something on the Planet-next-door. “May” being the operative word. A team found phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus and can’t think of any other way it could have got there. Phosphine is considered to be a biomarker. And microbes on Earth would have no trouble making it, though none of them could easily survive on Venus where the atmosphere clouds and rain are nearly pure hot sulphuric acid.*

Scientists find gas linked to life in atmosphere of Venus

Ian Sample, The Guardian

Sara Seager, a planetary scientist on the study at MIT in the US, called the finding “mind-boggling”. She hypothesises a lifecycle for Venusian microbes that rain down, dry out and are swept back up to more temperate altitudes by currents in the atmosphere.

For 2bn years, Venus was temperate and harboured an ocean. But today, a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere blankets a near-waterless surface where temperatures top 450C. The clouds in the sky are hardly inviting, containing droplets of 90% sulphuric acid.

“It’s completely startling to say life could survive surrounded by so much sulphuric acid,” said Prof Jane Greaves, an astronomer at Cardiff University, leader of the team who made the discovery. “But all the geological and photochemical routes we can think of are far too

There are still a lot of ducks that need to line up before we could say we’ve found life on Venus (if it exists). It’s a competition  of disbelief — we can’t believe lightning or volcanoes could have made that much phosphine and we can’t believe microbes can live in near pure sulphuric acid either.

Still, it’s interesting to wonder  whether life could have evolved on Venus during that two billions years of oceans and this is all that’s left? If there were once fish on Venus, how would we know on a 450 degree C planet, and from 200 million years in the future and from Earth?

Scientists Find a Possible Sign of Life on Venus

by Maria Korean, The Atlantic

Venus is a notoriously inhospitable planet, where surface temperatures hover around 860 degrees Fahrenheit (460 Celsius). Travel high into the atmosphere, where it’s cooler, and you’ll find more bearable, even comfortable, temperatures, closer to what we experience on Earth. This is where the telescopes detected the signature of phosphine. But Venus’s atmosphere is so acidic, with clouds made of droplets of sulfuric acid, that any phosphine would be quickly zapped. For the gas to stick around, something must replenish the supply.

Yes, there’s a climate simulation involved and we all know what that means.

Until now, phosphine has been detected only on three other worlds in the solar system. On Earth, it is found in swamps and marshlands, and in the intestines of some animals. On Jupiter and Saturn, the gas is forged within the planets’ violent storms, under extreme conditions that aren’t known to exist anywhere else. Sousa-Silva and the other researchers mimicked similar processes on Venus using computer simulations. They sent jolts of lightning coursing through the atmosphere and meteorites crashing through the clouds. They simulated the scraping of crust against crust, even though Venus doesn’t have plate tectonics, because they couldn’t think of anything else that could produce enough energy to force phosphine into existence.

It’s easy to pooh-pooh the evidence, but having studied microbiology, it’s hard to imagine a whole planet being sterile. The phosphine clue might be a fizzer, but it won’t surprise me if there is some microbial life there. And if there is, I want to see what it uses for DNA. But to get that we need a titanium rocket, or something.

*Edited: Thanks to Bob Fernley-Jones for pointing out that I meant to say clouds and rain specifically are sulphuric acid. The atmosphere is mostly CO2 (of course).

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79 comments to Signs of life on Venus?

  • #
    ren

    Now, as a rough cross-check, we enter the Venus altitude-versus-atmospheric pressure graph at 1000 millibars (the Earth’s average sea level atmospheric pressure) and go up to intersect the altitude-pressure profile line, and across to the left axis where we find the corresponding altitude of 49.5 kilometers (31 miles). This altitude is only three kilometers (or six percent) different than we found from the temperature graph.
    So, in spite of the surface temperature of Venus being on the order of 864 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a region in the Venusian atmosphere which approximates that of Earth with respect to temperature and pressure. But there may be problems.

    52.5 kilometers above the Venusian surface turns out to be in the middle of the Venusian cloud blanket which is made up largely of sulfuric acid droplets. (The cloud bottoms are estimated to be 30 to 35 km above the surface and the tops are estimated to be from 60 to 75 km above the Venusian surface.) This upper altitude limit is perhaps a fuzzy estimate. The cloud tops temperature has been reported to be 260 K (-13 degrees C or 9 degrees F). According to the temperature profile above (green line) this temperature corresponds to an altitude of 58 km (36 miles) for the cloud tops. (For stratus clouds there will be thermal equilibrium between the atmosphere and the cloud tops.)

    Is this acidic cloud environment good or bad for the formation of viral precursors and/or virus building processes? (Do sulfuric acid droplets in a reducing atmosphere assist or preclude the formation or preservation of amino acids and other RNA building blocks? Can sufficient solar ultraviolet energy penetrate the clouds to this depth? ) If either answer is harmful to the hypothesis then we can ask whether or not the Venusian atmosphere above the clouds, say 60 km (37 miles) and up, could be (or not be) a candidate region for the biological processes in question. Ultraviolet penetration will not be a problem above the clouds. So, what are the lowest temperature and pressure constraints for reasonable biological activity?
    https://web.archive.org/web/20080205025041/http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm

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    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Thanks ren, excellent rundown on the Venus suface conditions and the possibility of life.
      Very interesting and exciting, and we should expect some surprise . .
      GeoffW

      52

      • #

        Indeed Ren, thanks from me too.

        The other question is whether we need RNA or amino acids or if there is a completely different system of chemistry that could achieve a stable system of replication under those extreme conditions. We could learn so much.

        30

    • #
      Deano

      I remember seeing a great doco about the Soviets attempts to land craft on Venus and gather what data they could before the conditions destroyed their vehicle. They were lucky to get a few hours of transmission I think before 500 degree sulfuric acid at high pressure ‘ate’ enough of their vital bits.

      Goddess of Love corroding your vital bits eh?

      20

  • #

    There are extremophile bacteria on Earth that metabolize sulfur and high enough up in the Venusian clouds, pressures and temperatures are similar to Earth’s atmosphere and there’s even solar energy available for photosynthesis, unlike the hot Venusian solid surface that doesn’t receive any direct solar energy.

    It’s the ‘cold’ clouds in direct equilibrium with the Sun radiating down that heats the Venusian surface, whose steady state temperature is dictated by the PVT profile of the matter between what’s heating the surface and the solid surface being heated. In this way, the Venusian solid surface has more in common with Earth’s solid surface under the deep ocean than with what we tend to think of as Earth’s surface in direct equilibrium with the Sun, whose relevant thermal mass consists of the top couple of hundred meters or so of the ocean and top meter or so of the bits of land that poke through. Much like the Earth’s oceans, the Venusian atmosphere is the primary repository of the planets stored energy.

    100

  • #
    PeterS

    It’s easy to pooh-pooh the evidence, but having studied microbiology, it’s hard to imagine a whole planet being sterile.

    Life comes from life, never from non-life without an intelligent mind. God created life. If life is ever found on other planets, it’s because God put it there for some unknown reason. To believe life can come from non-life by natural means is pure nonsense, and certainly not scientific. It’s just fairy tale stuff and many geneticists openly admit that.

    126

    • #
      el gordo

      Excuse me … life evolves spontaneously under the right conditions.

      There was water on the early planets in the habitable zone, Venus, Mars and Earth were similar in size, but god knew that intelligent life couldn’t evolve on them because of their weak dynamos.

      So he manufactured a similar size planet in the Kuiper Belt and flung it towards earth, which took a smashing blow, then life was assured.

      ‘Any water on Earth during the later part of its accretion would have been disrupted by the Moon-forming impact (~4.5 billion years ago), which likely vaporized much of Earth’s crust and upper mantle and created a rock-vapor atmosphere around the young planet.

      ‘The rock vapor would have condensed within two thousand years, leaving behind hot volatiles which probably resulted in a majority carbon dioxide atmosphere with hydrogen and water vapor.

      ‘Afterwards, liquid water oceans may have existed despite the surface temperature of 230 °C (446 °F) due to the increased atmospheric pressure of the CO2 atmosphere. As cooling continued, most CO2 was removed from the atmosphere by subduction and dissolution in ocean water, but levels oscillated wildly as new surface and mantle cycles appeared.’ wiki

      25

      • #
        Peter C

        life evolves spontaneously under the right conditions.

        This is a widely held belief amongst scientists, even though there are no observations. To think otherwise, might be to admit the existence of God, which would never do. Peter S is correct. Life begets life. Spontaneous life has never been observed and the question is; why not?

        90

        • #
          el gordo

          Theologically speaking, the creation of our big moon appears to be an act of god.

          14

          • #
            Peter C

            Yes,

            However Dr Andrew Prentice had a good theory for the formation of moons which has been very successful.
            https://www.monash.edu/moca/research/other

            I heard him give a lecture on the application of his theory to the formation of our moon. It is a better theory, in my view, than the standard big collision model.

            23

            • #
              el gordo

              Our moon has a composition similar to earth, which suggests it formed where it sits, but I won’t disregard the impact hypothesis just yet.

              Its size and angular momentum (the conservation of energy) are worth considering.

              24

              • #
                Peter C

                I don’t know who gave the red thumb, or why.

                The size of our moon is unusual, as far as we know. The angular momentum and nearly circular orbit and the orbital plane being almost on the ecliptic are all observations which are in favour of the moon forming where it is at the same time as the Earth formed.

                31

              • #

                And who’s to say? It could be a large and vast power that set the constants of physics with a plan that would unfold over timespans of billions of years.

                10

              • #
                el gordo

                There is a ballpark figure of 200 billion galaxies, all put in place by a supreme entity for our benefit. This appears unreasonable, so I’ll posit that life evolves naturally, under the right conditions, throughout the universe and we are not the only planet which harbours intelligent life.

                Mathematically it seems patently obvious, but faith has the power to bend the laws of physics.

                10

        • #
          el gordo

          Or more correctly, the whole operation appears to be intelligently designed.

          14

      • #
        PeterS

        life evolves spontaneously under the right conditions

        For a Christian, the origin of life is not a problem at all. For an atheists it’s an insurmountable problem simply because it’s impossible here on earth. More and more atheistic scientists are resigning to the position that life could not arise spontaneously on the earth. So more and more evolutionists are reaching to other planets for the answer. Some raise the possibility that life or the molecules of life were transported via meteorites, comets or asteroids or even aliens to the earth. Once limited to the realm of science fiction, this possibility is viewed as the only possibility for those who reject a Divine Creator. For them, if life could not originate spontaneously on the earth, then it must have formed somewhere else and then travelled/transported here. See the problem with that answer?

        71

    • #

      PeterS – just too silly and irrelevant to bother with this one. Find this geneticist and show them to me. I’d like to have a word with them.

      35

      • #
        PeterS

        Be my guest. They can be found on this list:
        Dr James Allan, Geneticist
        Dr Choong-Kuk Chang, Genetic Engineering
        Dr Ken Cumming, Biologist
        Dr Chris Darnbrough, Biochemist
        Dr Douglas Dean, Biological Chemistry
        Dr David A. DeWitt, Biology, Biochemistry, Neuroscience
        Dr Angel Duty, Biomedical engineering
        Robert H. Eckel, Medical research
        Dr André Eggen, Geneticist
        Dr Dudley Eirich, Genetic engineering, polymer chemistry
        Prof. Carl B. Fliermans, Professor of Biology
        Prof. Dwain L. Ford, Organic Chemistry
        Prof. Robert H. Franks, Associate Professor of Biology
        Dr Kenneth W. Funk, Organic Chemistry; biologically active peptide synthesis.
        Dr Paul Giem, Medical Research
        Dr Maciej Giertych, Geneticist
        Dr Duane Gish, Biochemist
        Dr D.B. Gower, Biochemistry
        Dr Joseph Henson, Entomologist
        Dr Kelly Hollowell, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacologist
        Dr Bob Hosken, Biochemistry
        George T. Javor, Biochemistry
        Dr Arthur Jones, Biology
        Prof. Leonid Korochkin, Molecular Biology
        Dr Dean Kenyon, Biology
        Prof. Gi-Tai Kim, Biology
        Prof. Harriet Kim, Biochemistry
        Prof. Jong-Bai Kim, Biochemistry
        Prof. Jung-Han Kim, Biochemistry
        Prof. Kyoung-Rai Kim, Analytical Chemistry
        Prof. Kyoung-Tai Kim, Genetic Engineering
        Dr Vladimir F. Kondalenko, Cytology/Cell Pathology
        Dr Leonid Korochkin, M.D., Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology
        Dr John K.G. Kramer, Biochemistry
        Prof. Myung-Sang Kwon, Immunology
        Dr John G. Leslie, Biochemistry, molecular biology, medicine, biblical archaeology
        Prof. Lane P. Lester, Biology, Genetics
        Dr Alan Love, Chemistry
        Dr Ian Macreadie, Molecular Biology, Microbiology:
        Dr John Marcus, Molecular Biology
        Dr John McEwan, Chemist
        Dr Albert Mills, Reproductive Physiologist, Embryologist
        Dr Eric Norman, Biomedical researcher
        Prof. Chris D. Osborne, Assistant Professor of Biology
        Dr David Pace, Organic Chemistry
        Dr Charles Pallaghy, Botanist
        Dr Gary E. Parker, Biologist, Cognate in Geology (Paleontology)
        Dr Georgia Purdom, Molecular Genetics
        Dr Jung-Goo Roe, Biology
        Dr David Rosevear, Chemist
        Dr Ariel A. Roth, Biology
        Dr John Sanford, Geneticist
        Dr Jonathan D. Sarfati, Physical chemist / spectroscopist
        Dr Young-Gi Shim, Chemistry
        Dr Esther Su, Biochemistry
        Dr Michael Todhunter, Forest Genetics
        Dr Lyudmila Tonkonog, Chemistry/Biochemistry
        Dr Royal Truman, Organic Chemist:
        Dr Ick-Dong Yoo, Genetics
        Dr Sung-Hee Yoon, Biology
        Dr Henry Zuill, Biology

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        • #

          OK… now Peter these are not all geneticist, in fact few are

          many geneticists openly admit that

          and perhaps a little help with what they actually said regarding

          To believe life can come from non-life by natural means is pure nonsense

          and while you are at it. Perhaps explain how this god came into existence according to your line of reasoning?

          34

          • #
            Kalm Keith

            One of the things that I’ve found difficult to accept in the modern world is the literal interpretation of “God”.

            The all powerful God of the last sixty years seems strangely powerless to guide humanity away from all the bloodshed, war and suffering.

            That’s not God’s fault but that of those who failed to consult their God and choose the best path to take.

            People are interpreting the message of God incorrectly because of commercial media which chronically misrepresents God.

            KK

            10

          • #
            PeterS

            You ask for at least one and handed you several and you still complain.

            50

        • #

          I just asked Maciej Giertych the Polish creationist

          I am a scientist — a population geneticist with a degree from Oxford University and a PhD from the University of Toronto — and I am critical of the theory of evolution as a scientist, with no religious connotation.

          11

        • #

          this is a list of creationists. Not one of them has made any scientific input or substantive critique into the origins of life. Their whole shtick is their quasi mystical attempts at an explanation. If you have evidence otherwise please hit me up on my blog.

          32

      • #
        PeterS

        If you want to believe life came from rock by natural means then go ahead.

        41

  • #
    Greg Cavanagh

    I for one, wouldn’t be surprised if bacterial life is abundant throughout the universe. If they finally do prove that bacteria are on Mars, I won’t bat an eye and be surprised.

    52

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Recall 1976 when the first Viking spacecraft on Mars sampled the soil and seemed to find signs of life. That was enough for Dr. Carl Sagan to optimistically tell the New York Times that he thought that life on Mars, even large forms of life, was not out of the question. By large life he went on to posit the existence of Martian polar bears.

      The original analyses were not confirmed, so Martian polar bears became extinct (or migrated to Alaska).

      50

    • #

      It wouldn’t even surprise me if all extraterrestrial life in our galaxy is based on DNA comprised of the same base pairs whether or not panspermia is involved.

      00

  • #
    Greg in NZ

    May I suggest some possible crew members for your titanium rocket to Venus: Dictator Dan, Flim-flam Flannery, Comrade Cindy, Greta Tellytubby, & both governors of CA and NY, just so they can experience, albeit too briefly, what ‘hot’ really means. Can they feeeeel it?

    Pedant alert: volcano’s needs no apostrophe.

    P.S. Snow to 500 m down south today. But but but, I heard it was a ‘thing of the past’ no?

    80

    • #
      sophocles

      Pedant alert #2:
      There two plurals for volcanoes in English and volcanos in that popular dialect which pretends to be english ….
      - choose one and stick with it.

      Volcano’s is the possessive as in the volcano’s last eruption (the last eruption of the volcano).

      00

  • #
    Rosco

    “For 2bn years, Venus was temperate and harboured an ocean. But today, a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere blankets a near-waterless surface where temperatures top 450C. The clouds in the sky are hardly inviting, containing droplets of 90% sulphuric acid.”

    I remember this line from the total bullshite Professor Brian Cox’s TV story.

    Just how do they have any idea Venus had oceans when it’s orbit means that at current values for the solar constant means an equatorial surface heating effect approaching 462.8 K or 189.7°C – certainly high enough to generate steam from any ocean ??

    Venus basks in double the solar constant for 116.74 times the length of time Earth’s surfaces do !

    Venus had no magnetic field and is exposed to a significantly higher power of the solar wind !

    To talk about an ocean surviving at all under these conditions is complete alarmist bullshite !!!

    [Slight edit]AD

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    • #
      David Maddison

      Venus doesn’t have a magnetic field but it does have an induced magnetosphere.

      10

    • #
      Peter C

      Exactly right Rosco.

      I noticed that also and made a similar comment at#12. I should have read your entry first.

      10

    • #
      sophocles

      Phosphine (PH3) is inflammable.
      If the phosphine (or (phosphane) is detectable from here, then it demonstrates just how short of oxygen the atmosphere is. Like none.

      Where there is phosphane, there could also be diphosphane which would make the vicinity diabolically aromatic.
      Whoo!

      20

      • #
        sophocles

        Phosphane on its own is odorless. The same cannot be said of diphosphane: imagine the smell of huge quantities of rotting fish …

        You wouldn’t want to NOT wear a completely sealed survival suit.

        The upside is being instantly aware of every leak to atmosphere …

        10

    • #
      Curious George

      Professor Sara Seager is MIT’s answer to Harvard’s Professor Naomi Oreskes. Not long ago, these were good schools.

      30

  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    “Travel high into the atmosphere, where it’s cooler, and you’ll find more bearable, even comfortable, temperatures, closer to what we experience on Earth.”

    . . . we need a titanium rocket,

    Seems over done.

    30

    • #
      el gordo

      ‘The most Earth-like atmosphere in the solar system occurs 30 to 40 miles (50 to 60 kilometers) above the surface of Venus. Both oxygen and hydrogen rise above the heavier gas layer covering the ground, and the pressures are similar to our planet.’ Space.com

      A titanium rocket won’t be necessary as we’ll be camped in the habitable zone. From there we should be able to cool the planet down, any ideas on how this might be accomplished?

      33

  • #
    Konrad

    Titanium? I’d be going with Duplex 2205 or another high grade stainless. This could be used to make ultra thin fuel tanks for the booster to take the probe from LEO to Venus. Tanks so thin they would need an external frame to survive launch to LEO.

    After aero braking at venus, the tanks get purged with helium matching external pressure as the booster descends to the 1 bar level of the Venusian atmosphere. The external support frame for the tanks and heat shield is then jettisoned, leaving a corrosion resistant blimp/science platform floating around the planet, circling once every 4 days, maneuvering using the “sea glider” technique.

    41

  • #
    David Maddison

    This would be a good excuse to activate a Venus mission to place an airship in the Venusian atmosphere at high altitude.

    NASA has already explored this concept. I’m not sure an airship would need to be manned however. What would crew do that robotic machinery couldn’t do in this case?

    And in the event a return to earth failed, who would want to be marooned floating in an airship high above Venus only to eventually sink into the abyss?

    Incidentally, at the surface of Venus, the “atmosphere” is thought to be a supercritical fluid not a gas.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Altitude_Venus_Operational_Concept

    13

  • #

    Did I read somewhere in the text that climate modeling was involved here. So, we have temperatures in the high hundreds Celsius, hundreds mind you, and someone mentioned CO2 as well. The model will show a monumentally huge increase in temperature of 1.5C within the next 50 to a hundred years.

    I can see the PHD student and his her Professor right now.

    Sir, sir, I just read that there’s CO2 on Venus. Should I fire up the TBFMU to tweak the model?

    Yeah, good idea, oh, and check to see if there’s a grant in all of this will you.

    Right away Sir.

    Tony.

    (TBFMU – TransaxlaBioFronicMultiplexification Unit)

    60

    • #
      Lucky

      Tony.. ah but that is only if Australian capitalist CO2. If sourced from burning US timber in UK power stations the CO2 becomes renewable so all good. Which is it on Venus?

      10

  • #
  • #
    Peter C

    Sara Seager, a planetary scientist on the study at MIT in the US, called the finding “mind-boggling”. She hypothesises a lifecycle for Venusian microbes that rain down, dry out and are swept back up to more temperate altitudes by currents in the atmosphere.

    For 2bn years, Venus was temperate and harboured an ocean. But today, a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere blankets a near-waterless surface where temperatures top 450C.

    The bit that I find “mind boggling” is this; “For 2bn years, Venus was temperate and harboured an ocean.” Did Sara Seager just make that up or did she obtain the knowledge from some sort of vision?

    80

    • #

      It’s an inference from various data sources and modelling. You well know that.

      14

    • #
      DavidGeo

      They made it up of course. Just like they ruled out some chemical reactions over 2 billion years and settled on a biological life form. The 20 ppb +/- 30% of phosphine identified 200 million kms away may not be phosphine at all. If their detector was serviced today would they be able to replicate the discovery?

      00

  • #

    Time to read “worlds in collision” again slowly? Would Immanuel Velikovsky be saying something like Well this time it is not from life on other planets and BTW I told you so.

    20

  • #
    STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Yeah, lets go to Venus. The sulfuric acid atmosphere would kill CV-19 but the authorities at Venus Health wouldn’t allow this to happen until a costly vaccine was found.

    60

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    Life on Venus, but in a very limited, irrelevant form to human interests on Earth. Proto life, perhaps, maybe.

    The most important question concerns the disappearance of intelligent life forms from Earth with little apparent hope that they will return.

    How did Europe become such a mess.
    How has the USA lost all reason and become ripped apart by civil war.
    How have we ignored the truth about the relative danger of Lockdowns compared to the potential danger of CV19.

    But OK, back to Venus.

    KK

    32

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      AaH! But new life begins. In The Australian today the lead article is ScoMo’s plans for the replacement of Liddell power station. He’s given AGL until April to announce FIRM generation to replace it when it is shut down, or the Federal Govt. will use the site for a gas fired station (by extension a CCGT, quicker construction, lower CO2 emissions) and redesign Australia’s natural gas industry to supply locally at world market prices.
      Sceptics will see a possible sign of intelligent life in Canberra.

      62

      • #

        Graeme No.3 mentions this (my bolding here)

        …..or the Federal Govt. will use the site for a gas fired station (by extension a CCGT, quicker construction, lower CO2 emissions)

        Liddell is within line of sight, well, almost touching distance really from the nearby Bayswater plant, and both plants use the same coal source.

        Back in 2009, the former owner Macquarie Generation submitted a proposal to construct a new power plant, ostensibly at the same site, but patently obvious, if you know the location, that it was being mooted as a proposal to replace Liddell when the time came.

        All the work was done and the project was approved, and then politics got in the way, and it umm, went into abeyance, and the upshot may have been the reason that MacGen divested these two plants to AGL.

        However, I want you to look at the link.

        The proposal called for either (a) a USC (HELE) coal fired plant, or (b) a CCGT gas fired plant on this site.

        All the work has been done, and all that is needed now is to simply refer back to this proposal.

        Link to overall proposal

        Link to relevant part of the proposal mentioning the two options and all the work involved with both. 53 pages, but relevant plans for both options start in Section 5 on page 16 through to page 32 for coal fired USC option and from page 32 to page 41 for the CCGT gas fired option.

        It’s all there, just waiting for whoever it will be that, umm, bites the bullet.

        Tony.

        [Sorry Tony caught by the spam filter]AD

        20

      • #
        Dennis

        The Federal Government has already succeeded in gaining development approval for two gas fired power stations to be built, one for Victoria and the other for South East Queensland, and negotiations continue with the Queensland Labor Government for planning approval to build a HELE coal fired power station in North Queensland, finance under written by the Federal Government.

        Negotiations with Victoria and New South Wales has resulted in agreement for much more natural gas to be extracted but supply limited to the East Coast market.

        The now proposal/threat to build a gas fired power station to replace the coal fired Liddell Power Station is based on the likely electricity price rise over 30 per cent after Liddell is closed and this Federal and State plan effectively counters the “renewables” replacement plan including a battery storage that exposed the price hike objective.

        10

        • #
          Dennis

          Energy industry has hit back saying the PM’s plan will derail the industry (The Australian reports).

          First an end for RET and subsidies and now the threat of gas fired power stations, and two now approved and another proposed, but what about industry profits on rising electricity pricing after subsidies?

          lol

          10

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  • #
    Bruce of Newcastle

    I’d be cautious of this finding.

    Firstly Venus has so much volcanism going on that the whole planetary surface is replaced roughly every half billion years or so, based upon impact crater numbers. That volcanism is overwhelmingly basaltic, ie reducing (in chemistry-speak).

    We know that phosphine is produced in basaltic eruptions, so that is an immediate first-hypothesis. But we also know that acid attack upon reduced phosphorus containing rocks like basalt directly produces phosphine gas. And we also know that the atmosphere of Venus contains lots of sulfuric acid in gaseous form. Venus’ surface is 90% basalt, a lot of which is freshly erupted. So there’s free sulfuric acid in the atmosphere in continual contact with phosphorus-containing fresh basalt on the surface. I would be interested to know if the authors have factored this relatively less well-known source into their calcs.

    70

  • #
    Dennis

    Country Women Association branch, the Men’s Shed is on Mars.

    40

  • #
    PeterS

    No amount of chemical evolution can ever generate the genetic information necessary to store in the DNA of even the simplest form of a cell, which is the basis for life. To jump from chemical evolution to life is like jumping from a pile of scrap to a fully programmed computer without the aid of an intelligent builder and programmer.

    40

    • #

      To pull statements out of your darkest orifices as though they are a deep insight is like jumping from ignorance to bliss

      15

      • #
        robert rosicka

        Talking about pulling things out of dark places the ABC reckon that the earth will turn into Venus if we don’t stop using fossil fuel !
        ABC drive radio .

        21

      • #
        PeterS

        The only ones doing that sort of thing are those who believe the Universe came from nothing and life came from non-life all by naturalistic means. Apart from the fact they are impossible without an intelligent creator, atheists have to struggle with the true meaning of life if there is no God with a purpose to it all, plus to explain how intelligence and consciousness evolved out of chemicals. Then again there are those who do believe that rocks are alive and have them as pets. LOL.

        00

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    BoN,
    In chem terms, what is “sulphuric acid in gaseous form”?
    Sulphuric acid at lab temperature is a strong acid, a clear liquid that boils about 330 deg C. It is soluble in water and hygroscopic.
    Sulphuric acid can be made by dissolving sulphur dioxide, SO2, in water. Ordinarily, this produces about equal parts of sulphuric acid H2SO4 and sulphurous acid, H2SO3. It takes extra energy and catalysis to make concentrated sulphuric acid for industry.
    There have been so many descriptions of acid in the atmosphere of Venus that I have no idea about what some authors mean.
    Can you refer me to a scientific, chemical paper that is concise and credible? Thanks. Geoff S

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  • #
    Travis T. Jones

    I’m old enough to remember when James Hansen compared a CO2 induced warmed earth to Venus …

    “We are often confronted with the idea that if the carbon dioxide level in the Earth’s atmosphere gets too high we will suffer from a “runaway greenhouse effect” and the Earth will become like Venus.

    This would be catastrophic.

    James Hansen famously wrote in 2009, page 236:

    “. .. if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there’s a substantial chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse.
    If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome [the runaway greenhouse] is a dead certainty”

    https://andymaypetrophysicist.com/can-earth-become-venus/

    The possible life on Venus might disagree that “a runaway greenhouse effect” is catastrophic.

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    Joe974

    The offhand remark about Venus having a water ocean for the first 2 billion years of its existence is something Hansen claimed to be a known fact, but no one ever gives the explanation of how they came to that conclusion. A guess is that they think the sun was less hot during that time for some reason. Hansen started his career as an expert on Venus. The weird thing is, that if you use his calculations that Earth is the temperature that it is, receiving 242W/m2, like the one comment said, (Thanks) Venus getting double that, being closer to the sun, makes its Hansen calculated surface temperature, without any greenhouse gas effect, around 160*C, too hot to hold liquid water. He never explains why he state Venus was once like Earth, with a liquid ocean. He gives all the details of how they figure ancient sea levels and temperatures from carbon or oxygen isotopes in foraminifera, etc, but no reason at all why he thinks Venus was as cold as Earth, it having always been much closer to the sun. If you work out intensity equals the distance squared, Venus compared to Earth comes out at the 167*C, 470W/m2 figure. Venus appears to be hotter than the Earth because it is closer to the sun but these jokers are telling us it should be the temperature of Earth but CO2 cooked it and not its closeness to the sun. They just say Venus was exactly the same as Earth before, but they never give any reason. Can someone give the reason? Was it lower sun power, and how do they know the intensity?
    The other thing about Venus is its slow retrograde rotation, and the time it takes to orbit the sun which, I’ve read, is a mystery because no one knows a reason why it appears to be in gravitational lock with the Earth. It always presents its same face to the Earth, or does so when they are closest together, but the observations they have, tell science that the two planets are in gravitational lock, and at the time I read it no one knew why. Any new theories about the Earth/Venus gravitational lock? Venus only revolves 5 times a year, in retrograde direction, and Hansen et al tell us it was once the same as Earth. Cooking one side for 72 straight days, the 72 days of night surely made it always different. Its axial tilt and whether it has seasons, with only 5 days a year, might affect its surface temperatures.
    As for life on Venus, when we know about the weird life forms at the deep sea vents, it is as good a chance there is some form in the Venus acid atmosphere, but you’d expect it to need water.

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    JCalvertN(UK)

    The article is nonscience.
    Phosphine? Here on Earth the marker of life is/was Oxygen.
    That stuff about oceans on Venus is nonsense. No evidence has ever been found of oceans on Venus. And it is not for lack of trying.
    It is simply that Venus has remained in a early stage of planetary evolution – that Earth was at when it was very young.

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