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Influenza 1918, A Venus Connection?
Venus Atmosphere Temperature and Pressure Profiles
Sunspot Activity, Venus Inferior Conjunctions, and Biological Events
1st Quarter 2001 Influenza Data Analysis (USA)
Global Developments: Spring-Summer 2001
Influenza A(H1N2)
USA Influenza Activity 2001-2002
West Nile Virus
USA Influenza Activity 2002-2003 - (Part 2 has SARS information.)
USA Influenza Activity 2003-2004 - (Part 2 has Special Note for June 2004.)
Venus Transit: Biohazard?
USA Influenza Activity 2004-2005
Calculated Dates of Venus Inferior Conjunctions

Venus Atmosphere Temperature and Pressure Profiles

Shade Tree Physics

Installed 04 Feb 2001 - Latest update 05 Dec 2007.
Key Words: bacteria, exobiology, Life on Venus, viruses

A reviewer of this article stated that influenza viruses are designed to grow at 37 degrees C (Celsius) [98.6 degrees F (Fahrenheit)] and to replicate using mammalian cell enzymes and that a long period of host and pathogen co-evolution is required.

The following graphs are provided as a first step in checking up on whether or not a suitable temperature, pressure, and chemically friendly environment for the production or replication of viruses exists in the Venusian atmosphere.

Venus atmosphere temperature vs altitude

The stated 37 degrees C (which is the average human body temperature prior to viral attack) corresponds to 310 Kelvin (K) (Celsius temp plus 273). If we enter the Venus altitude-versus-temperature graph at 310 K and go straight up (red line) to the temperature profile, and then horizontally to the left axis we find a corresponding altitude of 52.5 kilometers (33 miles).

A team of scientists in Asia published a paper in Nature magazine last year(1) saying that H5N1 viruses have been circulating in China since 2001 with a seasonal pattern, peaking from October to March when the average temperature is below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).


Venus atmosphere pressure vs altitude

Now, as a rough cross-check, we enter the Venus altitude-versus-atmospheric pressure graph at 1000 millibars (the Earth's average sea level atmospheric pressure) and go up to intersect the altitude-pressure profile line, and across to the left axis where we find the corresponding altitude of 49.5 kilometers (31 miles). This altitude is only three kilometers (or six percent) different than we found from the temperature graph.

So, in spite of the surface temperature of Venus being on the order of 864 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a region in the Venusian atmosphere which approximates that of Earth with respect to temperature and pressure. But there may be problems.

52.5 kilometers above the Venusian surface turns out to be in the middle of the Venusian cloud blanket which is made up largely of sulfuric acid droplets. (The cloud bottoms are estimated to be 30 to 35 km above the surface and the tops are estimated to be from 60 to 75 km above the Venusian surface.) This upper altitude limit is perhaps a fuzzy estimate. The cloud tops temperature has been reported to be 260 K (-13 degrees C or 9 degrees F). According to the temperature profile above (green line) this temperature corresponds to an altitude of 58 km (36 miles) for the cloud tops. (For stratus clouds there will be thermal equilibrium between the atmosphere and the cloud tops.)

Is this acidic cloud environment good or bad for the formation of viral precursors and/or virus building processes? (Do sulfuric acid droplets in a reducing atmosphere assist or preclude the formation or preservation of amino acids and other RNA building blocks? Can sufficient solar ultraviolet energy penetrate the clouds to this depth? ) If either answer is harmful to the hypothesis then we can ask whether or not the Venusian atmosphere above the clouds, say 60 km (37 miles) and up, could be (or not be) a candidate region for the biological processes in question. Ultraviolet penetration will not be a problem above the clouds. So, what are the lowest temperature and pressure constraints for reasonable biological activity?

* * *

What about the surface of Venus?
(The high temperature - high pressure regime.)

It may turn out that the surface temperature of Venus (864° F) is not so inhospitable to all life forms as we might imagine. w

The article Looking for clues to our mineral wealth, published by the Australian Academy of Science, describes unusual life forms associated with oceanic subsurface volcanic chimneys (black smokers).

"The environment around black smokers forms the habitat for a number of highly specialized animals. Species of tube worms, bivalves, gastropods and crustaceans are capable of surviving in complete darkness, under extreme pressures and at water temperatures that range from 10°C to 400°C. These organisms survive by eating bacteria that use hydrogen sulfide as their primary energy source."

Hydrogen sulfide powered bacteria, if they can actually make it at 400° C (720° F), might, with special conditioning, qualify for life on the "ocean floor" of the Venusian atmosphere. Dietary considerations would, of course, be in order.

* * *

The graphs on this web page (before my modifications) were originally published by J.M. Jenkins, P. G. Steffes, D.P. Hinson, J.D. Twicken, and G.L. Tyler in their article, Radio Occultation Studies of the Venus Atmosphere with the Magellan Spacecraft, Icarus, Vol. 110, 79-94, 1994. (The kind permission to use the graphs does not constitute endorsement of the hypothesis under evaluation in this article.) See: Venus Temperature and Pressure Profiles - Jenkins, et.al.

According to Velikovsky, the high temperatures of Venus's atmosphere and surface are not due to a runaway greenhouse effect, but rather they result from its expulsion from Jupiter shortly before the Earth-Venus encounters, which he says happened at about 1450 b.c.e. See Velikovsky Pages. [Added 19 Jan 2006.]

References

(1) K.S. Li, Y. Guan, J. Wang, G.J.D. Smith, K.M. Xu, L. Duan, A.P. Rahardjo, P. Puthavanthana, C. Buraanthai, T.D. Nguyen, A.T.S. Estoepangestie, A. Chalsingh, P. Auewarakul, H.T. Long, N.T.H. Hanh, R.J. Webby, L.L.M. Poon, H. Chen, K.F. Shortridge, K.Y. Yuen, R.G. Webster and J.S.M. Peiris, Genesis of a highly pathogenic and potentially pandemic H5N1 influenza virus in eastern Asia, Letters to Nature, Nature, 430, 209 (2004).

(2) Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, MacMillan and Company, New York, (1950), pp 59-60.

Related Links
(Specialized words in bold are defined below.)

Venus may surprise us and emerge as a haven for life - NewScientist.com 28 Sep 2002. [Link no longer active. Article may be archived.]

Chemical that could power microbes is found at Jupiter moon. The "signature" for sulfuric acid, found in acid rain and car batteries on Earth, has been found on Europa. ... Ken Nealson, head of JPL's astrobiology unit said the acid's presence excited him about the possibility of life on Europa. ... Bacteria are very good at exploiting chemical energy sources, even inorganic sources like sulfuric acid, NASA's Mark Anderson said.
Source: CNN.com sci-tech > space > story page 01 Oct 1999. [Page no longer available.]

Archaea These organisms are microscopic prokaroytes. When the first ones were discovered (in 1977), they were considered bacteria. However, when their ribosomal RNA was sequenced, it became obvious that they bore no close relationship to the bacteria and were, in fact, more closely related to the eukaroytes (including ourselves!) ... They have also been called Extremophiles in recognition of the extreme environments in which they have been found: Six major divisions of archaea are listed, one of which consists of the acidophiles, who live at low pH (as low as pH 1 and who die at pH 7!)
Source: Kimball's Biology Pages

Defining Life "We can conceive of chemistries that might occur in sulfuric acid as a solvent as on Venus." Astrobiology Magazine 5 Aug 2002.

Prospecting for Viruses "Under scalding acidic conditions, scientists wonder, how do life processes function?" ... "To me, the most interesting aspect is why the RNA does not hydrolyse, as it should quite rapidly according to general phosphate chemistry if at 90 degrees C and pH 2. "
Astrobiology Magazine 5 Aug 2002.

David Grinspoon, Funky Science - Discusses possibilities of life in Venusian clouds. Click on "Venus Revealed." Nice surface maps too!

Is Venus a New Planet? [Added 05 Dec 2007.]

Definitions

Eukaroyte: An organism whose cells contain a membrane-bound nucleus.

Hydrolysis: Decomposition of a substance by the insertion of water molecules between certain of its bonds. Food is digested by hydrolysis.

Prokaryote: An organism who cell contains neither a membrane-bound nucleus nor other membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria and plastids. Includes the "true bacteria" and the archaeans. Sometimes spelled procaryote.

Source: Kimball's Biology Pages .

Comments/questions? Contact Robert Fritzius

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