Say you're a space researcher, and tomorrow you see images of what looks like a living thing on another planet. How long would it take you to shout that from the mountaintop? Probably as long as it takes to write a decent Twitter update. Well, a Russian scientist has just come forward with what he calls evidence of life on Venus, and he's been sitting on it for 30 years.
Leonid Ksanfomaliti, a researcher with the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, recently published an article in Russia's Solar System Research Magazine documenting findings from a 126-minute video recording made by a Russian probe that landed on the second planet from the sun in 1982. Ksanfomaliti claims that the images accompanying the article show inexplicable shapes on the planet's surface that can only be living things.
"Without going into the present conception that life would be impossible on Venus given its conditions, we can take a long shot and say that the given morphological characteristics allow us to assume that certain objects [registered on the planet's surface] have qualities of living beings," he wrote.
Well, of course it's handy to simply throw out the hard fact that life on Venus is (as far as we know, anyway) impossible, but Ksanfomaliti says he has no other explanation for the "black patch," "shape shifting disk" and "scorpion" that the probe captured. He even claims the forms were moving, and that the scorpion shape was in motion for a whopping 26 minutes.
But wait, if he's had this stuff since 1982, why is he waiting until now to let it out of the bag? Well, apparently he was worried he wouldn't be taken seriously back then, but a new wave of research into life on other planets bolstered his confidence. Of course, other recordings have been taken of Venus besides this two-hour clip, but Ksanfomaliti thinks those came up with nothing simply because the probe was so noisy when it touched down on Venus that anything living there crept into hiding.
Of course, not everyone is convinced of the findings. Aleksandr Bazilevsky at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Geochemistry Institute called Ksanfomaliti a "serious scientist," but said his theory is "flawed."
"The life forms we are familiar with are protein-based and they would never survive on Venus," Bazilevsky said. "We know life forms capable of surviving at pressure of 100 bars on the seabed, and creatures living at the maximum temperature of +150 C in underwater volcanoes. But the temperature on Venus exceeds +500 C."
Yes, Ksanfomaliti's theory seems rather convenient, but the images are worth mulling over. And hey, we know nothing on Earth can survive Venus' climate, but we don't know anything about those crazy Venusian aliens and their temperature preference, now do we?