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This is an artist's rendition of a column of clouds on Venus. The temperature of the different layers is shown at the left.
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Can there be Life in the Environment of Venus?

Venus is very hot, almost 800 degrees (Fahrenheit) at the surface. Venus also has a very heavy atmosphere. With the thick atmosphere Venus has a pressure level on its surface of 91 to 94 times that of Earth's at sea level. A sophisticated life form such as a human-being would need protection, to keep from being crushed. The atmosphere is made almost completely of carbon dioxide, with clouds sulfuric acid circling the planet.

We know, however, that there are more primitive life forms on earth which can survive in very harsh environments. Bacteria and very simple plant life can survive in a wide range of unexpected places.

Because of the very high temperature, pressure, and corrosive atmosphere the environment of Venus seems unfriendly toward life as we know it on earth. More exploration of Venus is needed to determine if life was once present there.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA