In the search for extraterrestrial life, scientists have turned over all sorts of rocks.
Mars, for example, has geological features that suggest it once had -- and still has -- subsurface liquid water, an almost sure prerequisite for life. Scientists have also eyed Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus as well as Jupiter's moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto as possible havens for life in the oceans under their icy crusts.
Now, however, scientists are dusting off an old idea that promises a new vista in the hunt for life beyond Earth: the clouds of Venus.
In a paper published online today (March 30, 2018) in the journal Astrobiology, an international team of researchers led by planetary scientist Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center lays out a case for the atmosphere of Venus as a possible niche for extraterrestrial microbial life.
"Venus has had plenty of time to evolve life on its own," explains Limaye, noting that some models suggest Venus once had a habitable climate with liquid water on its surface for as long as 2 billion years. "That's much longer than is believed to have occurred on Mars."To read more, click here.