Life on Venus? Russian scientist’s claim proven false
A respected Russian scientist claims to have found signs of life on Venus in photographs taken by a Soviet probe 30 years ago. However, outside analysis suggests he is breathing life into an assortment of camera lens covers and image blurs.
According to the Russian news service RIA Novosti, Leonid Ksanfomaliti, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences who worked on unmanned Soviet missions to Venus during the 1970s and ’80s, has written a new article in the journal Solar System Research. In the article, he calls attention to several objects photographed by the Venera 13 landing probe, a spacecraft that landed on Venus in 1982.
The objects — including features described as a disc and a scorpion — appear to change locations from one photo to the next. “Let’s boldly suggest that the objects’ morphological features would allow us to say that they are living,” Ksanfomaliti stated, according to RIA Novosti.
Whether the scientist really has suggested that the old photographs contain living creatures that were somehow overlooked previously, or whether his words have been mistranslated, misconstrued or should have been quietly ignored, the claim has made headlines around the globe.
In one image,the Venera 13 landing probe is seen parked on the rocky Venusian foreground, and an object shaped somewhat like a crab stands inches from the probe. In another image, also taken by Venera 13, this crablike object appears to be in a different location. [NASA Debunks Mysterious UFO Near Venus]
According to Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, who processes many of the images taken during NASA’s Mars missions, higher-resolution versions of the Venera 13 images show that the crablike object is actually a mechanical component, not a living creature. The same object shows up in a photograph taken by an identical landing probe, Venera 14, which landed nearby on Venus.
“If those objects were already on the surface of Venus, what are the chances that Venera 13 and 14, which landed nearly 1,000 kilometers apart, would both land inches away from the only ones in sight and they would be in the same positions relative to the spacecraft? It makes much more sense that it’s a piece of the lander designed to break off during the deployment of one of the scientific instruments,” Hill told Life’s Little Mysteries.