One serious consideration by a team of scholars is that forms of life Creates chemical reactions – making an acidic environment more habitable. Many strange anomalies found in the planet’s upper atmosphere have puzzled scientists for decades. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a hypothesis.
The hypothesis was a joint effort of Cardiff University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge.
Ammonia was initially discovered in the clouds of Venus in the 1970s.
The normally detected ammonia must not be produced by any known inorganic chemical process on Venus.
In their new study, the researchers modeled a range of chemical processes to show that if ammonia was already present, the gas would trigger a chain of chemical reactions, neutralizing surrounding sulfuric acid droplets.
An increase in ammonia over time will change the pH of the clouds from -11 to approximately 0.
Then the clouds that are less acidic are in the acidity range they can tolerate.
Some life on Earth produces ammonia in this way to neutralize intensely acidic environments and make them habitable.
Dr William Baines, co-author of the study, from Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “We know that life can grow in acidic environments on Earth.
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“Ammonia should not be on Venus,” said Professor Sarah Seeger, of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) at MIT, a fellow co-author.
“It has hydrogen attached to it, and there is very little hydrogen around.
“Any gas that does not belong in the context of its environment is automatically suspicious because it is the creation of life.”
Other anomalies were found in the study, including unexpected levels of water vapor and sulfur dioxide.
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