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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 by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF