Life on the Surface of Venus?

  title={Life on the Surface of Venus?},
  author={Carl E. Sagan},
  • C. Sagan
  • Published 1 December 1967
  • Physics, Geology
  • Nature
IT is said (for example, refs. 1–3) that our knowledge of the surface of the cloud covered planet Venus is extremely fragmentary and ambiguous; that there are alternative non-thermal explanations of the microwave emission; that, even if the surface is hot, the polar regions may be cold enough to support life, or sufficiently high mountains may exist, and so on. It seems appropriate to relate some of this speculation to continuing work on the physical environment of Venus. 

Ice Caps on Venus?

The data on Venus obtained by Mariner V and Venera 4 are interpreted as evidence of giant polar ice caps holding the water that must have come out of the volcanoes with the observed carbon dioxide,

Infrared spectra of Venus

A historical account of observations of Venus and their interpretation is given. The major constituent of the atmosphere on Venus (CO2) was detected spectroscopically forty years ago, and minor

The Trouble with Venus

Venus is the closest planet. Its surface has never been seen at optical frequencies; nevertheless we now know with at least fair reliability, and in some cases with remarkable accuracy, its surface

The Physical Origin of the Venus Low Atmosphere Chemical Gradient

Venus shares many similarities with the Earth, but concomitantly, some of its features are extremely original. This is especially true for its atmosphere, where high pressures and temperatures are

The Coming Search for Life on Mars

According to modern astronomy, planetary systems and the conditions suitable for life are considered to be of common occurrence in the universe, and the planet Mars is of special interest, and its physical parameters do not exclude the possibility that microorganisms may exist on that planet.

Habitability of the Solar System

After Miller (1953) tested the idea of Urey (1952) about the synthesis of prebiotic molecules from inorganic compounds such as methane, water, and hydrogen, it was clear that abiotic matter could

Life on the Edge and Astrobiology: Who Is Who in the Polyextremophiles World?

Life exists in almost every ecological niche on Earth, and the majority of living organisms thrive in “normal” or “common” conditions. These are the environments that we are familiar with from our

Can the biogenicity of Europa's surfical sulfur be tested simultaneously with penetrators and ion traps?

(1) The Abdus Salam ICTP, Applied Physics Scientific Section, Trieste, Italy (, +390-40-22 41 63), (2) Institutode Estudios Avanzados, Caracas 1015A, Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela.,

Detection of simplest amino acid glycine in the atmosphere of the Venus

Amino acids are considered to be prime ingredients in chemistry, leading to life. Glycine is the simplest amino acid and most commonly found in animal proteins. It is a glucogenic and non-essential

Vegetative life on Venus? Or investigations with algae which grow under pure CO2 in hot acid media at elevated pressures

Algae grown in pure CO2 under pressure with an acidic nutrient medium at elevated temperatures and one species found in hot-springs was observed to grow, suggesting that if the planet Venus has acidic polar seas, they may harbor photosynthetic life.



Life in the Clouds of Venus?

WHILE the surface conditions of Venus make the hypothesis of life there implausible, the clouds of Venus are a different story altogether. As was pointed out some years ago1, water, carbon dioxide

Radio observations of Venus and the interpretations

The radio observations of Venus are reviewed and compared with theoretical microwave spectra computed for a variety of models of the Venusian environment. The models considered are (a) a CO2-N2

Polarization of Thermal Emission from Venus.

Abstract : Thermal emission from a specific locale on a planetary surface is, in general, polarized, because the emissivities parallel and perpendicular to the plane of incidence are unequal. A radio

Structure of the lower atmosphere of Venus

  • C. Sagan
  • Physics, Environmental Science
  • 1962


Abstract : Measurements of the brightness distribution and differential polarization over the surface of the planet Venus have been made at a wavelength of 10.6 cm with two element interferometers

Anisotropic nonconservative scattering and the clouds of Venus

Expressions have been obtained in a modified Schuster-Schwarzschild approximation describing the monochromatic transmissivity, reflectivity, and absorptivity of a cloud layer characterized by an

An analysis of the Mariner 2 microwave observations of Venus

Mariner 2 limb darkening measurements of Venus at microwave range, discussing peak brightness temperature and opacity models