Image shows the night side of Venus glowing in thermal infrared, captured by Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft.
Credit: JAXA/ISAS/DARTS/Damia Bouic

 

Venus is hot right now. 

Ok, I don’t want to sidetrack you to think about the planet’s hellish surface that’s blistering enough to melt lead, nor have you cozy up to its cloud-enveloped nature to earn the title of a “love goddess” or a world that’s often tagged as “Earth’s twin.”

Here is what’s happening. Scientists are becoming increasingly eager to sort out a key question: Is Venus a cloud-bound sanctuary for microbial life?

Credit: MIT/Breakthrough Initiatives

 

 

Back here on Earth, Venus is somewhere between comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s “no respect” of a world and the Spinal Tap song about living in a “Hell Hole.”

Scientists are now discussing what future missions can cough up new information regarding that world’s potential as an extraterrestrial home address for life – life that’s busily minding its own business in a swirl within Venusian clouds.

For more details, go to my new Space.com story – “New wave of missions to reignite Venus exploration” – at: https://www.space.com/venus-alien-life-search-new-missions

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