Russian scientist claims life on Venus, is (probably) crazy

The surface of Venus is not a pleasant place to live. It's really freakin' hot (900 degrees), the pressure is stifling (92 times Earth normal), and the clouds are made of sulfur dioxide. We're pretty sure that nothing could survive down there, especially not some imaginary scorpions that a Russian scientist thinks he sees in old pictures of Venus' surface.

The Russians are the only people who've managed to land space probes on Venus and send back pictures. The images above come from Venera-13, which landed in 1982 and managed to survive on the surface for two hours sending back pictures. Here's another one, which was taken through a color filter array:


See the scorpion? No? Leonid Ksanfomaliti of the Space Research Institute at Russia's Academy of Sciences can see it, and he's helpfully circled it for us:


Ksanfomaliti can also see several other shapes which appear to move in successive images, all of which are low resolution, heavily compressed, and full of artifacts, and his suggestion is that "the objects' morphological features would allow us to say that they are living."

The thing about macro-organisms like scorpions is that they're big and they're hungry. If you've got enough of them running around that one shows up in one of like three pictures that a probe sends back from Venus, it implies that there's a whole food chain going on. You'd need lots of smaller organisms for the Venuscorpions to feed on, and then something for those organisms to eat, and so on. But, none of the pics show evidence for any of that.

Now, we obviously don't want to suggest that there isn't life on Venus. There very well could be, whether it's underground or up in the clouds. But if there is, it's probably microbial, and not something that looks like a scorpion that you think you've seen in a blurry video image from 30 years ago, although we'd love to be dead wrong. And anyway, that totally does not look like a scorpion. I'd say it's much more pangolin-ish. Yes, that's right, you heard here first: there are pangolins on Venus!

Via Daily Mail

Images via Don P. Mitchell

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