PICTURES: 3 Worlds Most Likely to Harbor Life Named

PICTURES: 3 Worlds Most Likely to Harbor Life Named
<< Previous   5 of 5    
The rocky, desert-like surface of Venus is too hot and parched for microbial life as we know it.

But airborne microbes could thrive, at least temporaily, in the cooler climes about 31 miles (50 kilometers) above Venus--earning the planet a score of 0.4 on the new Standard Microbial Habitability index, announced in October 2009.

The potential habitat for life in Venus's atmosphere is actually bigger than in Earth's atmosphere, said Mendez, of the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo.

However the atmosphere of Venus is unstable, Mendez said. Air circulation would eventually force life to lower altitudes, where it would be sterilized by the higher temperatures.
—Image courtesy Magellan Project, JPL, NASA
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.