Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres

Hallsworth JE, Koop T, Dallas TD, Zorzano M-P, Burkhardt J, Golyshina OV, Martin-Torres J, Dymond MK, Ball P, McKay CP (2021)
Nature Astronomy 5(7): 665–675.

Zeitschriftenaufsatz | Veröffentlicht | Englisch
 
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Autor*in
Hallsworth, John E.; Koop, ThomasUniBi ; Dallas, Tiffany D.; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Burkhardt, Juergen; Golyshina, Olga V.; Martin-Torres, Javier; Dymond, Marcus K.; Ball, Philip; McKay, Christopher P.
Abstract / Bemerkung
Calculations of water activity reveal that this parameter can be a substantial barrier to habitability for clouds of Solar System planets. In particular, water activity within droplets of Venus's clouds is more than 100-fold below the threshold for biotic activity of known extremophiles. The recent suggestion of phosphine in Venus's atmosphere has regenerated interest in the idea of life in clouds. However, such analyses usually neglect the role of water activity, which is a measure of the relative availability of water, in habitability. Here we compute the water activity within the clouds of Venus and other Solar System planets from observations of temperature and water-vapour abundance. We find water-activity values of sulfuric acid droplets, which constitute the bulk of Venus's clouds, of <= 0.004, two orders of magnitude below the 0.585 limit for known extremophiles. Considering other planets, ice formation on Mars imposes a water activity of <= 0.537, slightly below the habitable range, whereas conditions are biologically permissive (>0.585) at Jupiter's clouds (although other factors such as their composition may play a role in limiting their habitability). By way of comparison, Earth's troposphere conditions are, in general, biologically permissive, whereas the atmosphere becomes too dry for active life above the middle stratosphere. The approach used in the current study can also be applied to extrasolar planets.
Erscheinungsjahr
2021
Zeitschriftentitel
Nature Astronomy
Band
5
Ausgabe
7
Seite(n)
665–675
eISSN
2397-3366
Page URI
https://pub.uni-bielefeld.de/record/2956304

Zitieren

Hallsworth JE, Koop T, Dallas TD, et al. Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres. Nature Astronomy . 2021;5(7):665–675.
Hallsworth, J. E., Koop, T., Dallas, T. D., Zorzano, M. - P., Burkhardt, J., Golyshina, O. V., Martin-Torres, J., et al. (2021). Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres. Nature Astronomy , 5(7), 665–675. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-021-01391-3
Hallsworth, J. E., Koop, T., Dallas, T. D., Zorzano, M. - P., Burkhardt, J., Golyshina, O. V., Martin-Torres, J., Dymond, M. K., Ball, P., and McKay, C. P. (2021). Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres. Nature Astronomy 5, 665–675.
Hallsworth, J.E., et al., 2021. Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres. Nature Astronomy , 5(7), p 665–675.
J.E. Hallsworth, et al., “Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres”, Nature Astronomy , vol. 5, 2021, pp. 665–675.
Hallsworth, J.E., Koop, T., Dallas, T.D., Zorzano, M.-P., Burkhardt, J., Golyshina, O.V., Martin-Torres, J., Dymond, M.K., Ball, P., McKay, C.P.: Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres. Nature Astronomy . 5, 665–675 (2021).
Hallsworth, John E., Koop, Thomas, Dallas, Tiffany D., Zorzano, Maria-Paz, Burkhardt, Juergen, Golyshina, Olga V., Martin-Torres, Javier, Dymond, Marcus K., Ball, Philip, and McKay, Christopher P. “Water activity in Venus's uninhabitable clouds and other planetary atmospheres”. Nature Astronomy 5.7 (2021): 665–675.

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