The search for another Earth is considered the Holy Grail of planetary science. In the vastness of the Universe, the belief is that life must exist somewhere other than Earth. What that life looks like and the conditions it needs to thrive may be quite different from those in our world but studying the building blocks of life and the conditions of exoplanets could help us to discover new life - and the potential for human life to exist on other plants.
Venus has long been considered Earth's sister planet because of it is a similar size, mass and material composition. But Venus is much hotter and its surface is too hostile for life to exist. For many years it was largely ignored by planetary scientists who looked to Mars or gazed deeper out into space.
Sara Seager, a pioneer in the study of exoplanets, and a leading expert in the search for life, believes we are missing a trick by not looking closer to home. Her current research focuses on whether life could exist in Venus' cloud deck, where temperatures are just right for life. With private space missions set to explore Venus in the next few years - the first in over 20 years - Sara believes the "golden age of Venus exploration lies ahead".
Could Venus harbour life? And if so, what does that tell us about the potential for life in other parts of the universe?Read more
For centuries, we have been looking up to the sky to understand the mysteries that surround us. The sky might hold the answers to some of our deepest questions such as where we came from. But what do we know so far?
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