NASA/JPL’s Image of Venus captured by NASA’s Mariner 10.
NASA/JPL’s Image of Venus captured by NASA’s Mariner 10.

Cosmic Queries – Life on Venus

Venus, as captured by NASA’s Mariner 10. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
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About This Episode

Is there life on Venus? On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-host Paul Mecurio, and astrobiologist David Grinspoon, aka Dr. FunkySpoon, are investigating the discovery of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus. 

We gathered up all your Cosmic Queries about the recent news and we start with the big question: Does this mean there’s life on Venus? Could there be a habitable zone? David tells us why the answer is…maybe. We explore the discovery of the phosphine gas and the possible explanations behind its existence in Venus’s atmosphere.

You’ll explore what’s next after a discovery like this. Can we bring samples back to Earth? David gives details on the complexity of a mission to the Venusian atmosphere. We also explore Venus’s volcanoes and its geologically-active surface. David explains why, if we want to know what’s going on in the atmosphere, we have to know what’s happening on the surface. 

Then, we take a look at Earth: Can we use Earth to help us deduce what’s happening on Venus? We ponder the best way to search for life in the universe. We also ponder whether life needs water to thrive or if life just needs liquid. David gives us the top three gases that could be used to signify life elsewhere. 

Find out why Venus’s atmosphere is so thick. We discuss Venus’s runaway greenhouse effect and the viscous circle of its carbon cycle. We also wonder if a probe from Earth might have introduced microbes to Venus’s atmosphere. All that, plus, we ask the very important question: Is the Wicked Witch of the West actually from Venus?

Thanks to our Patrons Patrick Gibbs, Jonathan O’Rear, Landon Orman, Rommy Jamal, Jason Peller, Dave McNeely, Andrew Nourry, and Kyle Rhodes for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

In This Episode

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