Why Scientists Made Venus Flytraps That Glow

Provoking a Venus flytrap takes a certain amount of finesse. If you brush just one of the trigger hairs inside of its leaves, the plant likely won’t react. But if you trigger it again quickly enough, it will spring into action, swinging its famous mouth shut.

Waiting for a double trip probably keeps the plant from wasting energy on raindrops or other things that aren’t nutritious flies. But despite centuries of interest in the species, no one was quite certain how the plants remember the first trigger in order to act on a second.

In a paper published last week in Nature Plants, researchers reported they had found the cause: calcium ions. By inducing the flytraps to glow when calcium entered their cells, a team of scientists was able to show how the ions build up as the hairs are triggered, eventually causing the snap.

Calcium is used for conveying

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A well-timed Venus flyby looks for signs of life in the clouds

Just weeks after the reported discovery of phosphine on Venus – a potential sign of life in the clouds above its hellish surface – a robot spacecraft will study the planet as it swings by on its exploration of the solar system.

The BepiColombo space probe’s flyby above Venus at two minutes before midnight ET Wednesday is a coincidence.

The “gravity slingshot” was planned years ago, long before astronomers detected traces of phosphine in the Venusian atmosphere.

But it’s the first spacecraft to get near Venus since the discovery – although probably not the last – and measure gases in the planet’s atmosphere.

“We will look at what we see in the data, and look for everything – the expected and the unexpected,” said Jörn Helbert of the German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, who works on a BepiColombo instrument called the Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared

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Mars At Its Brightest Since 2003 As Moon Visits Venus. What You Can See In The Night Sky This Week

Each week I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy and eclipses. 

What To Watch For In The Night Sky This Week: October 12-18, 2020

This week it’s all about Mars, which will look its biggest, brightest and best in post-sunset skies since 2018 and, technically speaking, since 2003.

However, it’s also a week where the Moon wanes towards its New phase, meaning dark skies at night, gorgeous crescents in the early pre-dawn mornings early in the week, and in early evenings from Sunday. 

MORE FROM FORBESWhat’s That Really Bright ‘Star’ In The Night Sky?

Tuesday, October 13, 2020: Mars at opposition

Tonight the red planet reaches opposition,

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How could a toxic gas be a sign of life of Venus?

Scientists recently announced that they had found possible signs of life in the clouds of Venus. We probably should have suspected as much all along.

Venus is a natural place to look for life beyond Earth. It is Earth’s twin — almost the same size and structure — and closer to us than Mars, the current favorite of astronomers looking for life elsewhere in the solar system. Venus is also closer to the Sun, which provides the warmth necessary for life as we know it. In the past, a few scientists have suggested that Venus was a source of primordial life that was later seeded on Earth. That theory, lithopanspermia, never gained popularity because current conditions on Venus seemed very inhospitable to life. The high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus ensures that the planet has a runaway greenhouse effect that makes its surface incredibly hot, way

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Moon May Harbor Ancient Pieces Of Venus’ Surface

Two Yale University researchers have found a potential shortcut in sampling Venus’ ancient surface. Instead of sending a probe on a costly and extraordinarily challenging Venus sample return mission, they propose simply finding a Venusian meteorite on our own Moon.

There’s never been a bona fide detection of a Venusian meteorite on Earth. For one reason, that’s because in the last several hundred million years at least, Venus’ atmospheric pressures have been so intense that even a catastrophic impactor could not dislodge any Venusian rocks into space. 

But before Venus underwent a runaway greenhouse and morphed into the climatic hellhole it is today, it may have had liquid water oceans as late as 700

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Bits of Venus may be lurking on the moon, scientists suggest

Does Venus host alien life? That’s the big question after a recent study spotted phosphine — a gas with possible biological origins — in the planet’s clouds. We won’t have answers until further investigation, but clues to the planet’s history of habitability could be closer than expected.



NASA created this computer-simulated global view of Venus' northern hemisphere. NASA/JPL


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NASA created this computer-simulated global view of Venus’ northern hemisphere. NASA/JPL

Yale University astronomers Samuel Cabot and Gregory Laughlin said we should look to the moon for a peek into Venus’ past. They explained why in a paper accepted into the Planetary Science Journal this month.

The study suggests “asteroids and comets slamming into Venus may have dislodged as many as 10 billion rocks and sent them into an orbit that intersected with Earth and Earth’s moon,” Yale said in a statement. These impacts were more common billions of years ago, meaning bits of ancient Venus could remain

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Looking for pieces of Venus? Try the moon — ScienceDaily

A growing body of research suggests the planet Venus may have had an Earth-like environment billions of years ago, with water and a thin atmosphere.

Yet testing such theories is difficult without geological samples to examine. The solution, according to Yale astronomers Samuel Cabot and Gregory Laughlin, may be closer than anyone realized.

Cabot and Laughlin say pieces of Venus — perhaps billions of them — are likely to have crashed on the moon. A new study explaining the theory has been accepted by the Planetary Science Journal.

The researchers said asteroids and comets slamming into Venus may have dislodged as many as 10 billion rocks and sent them into an orbit that intersected with Earth and Earth’s moon. “Some of these rocks will eventually land on the moon as Venusian meteorites,” said Cabot, a Yale graduate student and lead author of the study.

Cabot said catastrophic impacts such as

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Venus isn’t habitable — and it could be all Jupiter’s fault

As a result of Jupiter — the largest planet in our solar system — moving closer and then away from the sun in its early formation, the planet’s vast gravitational pull effectively killed off Venus’ potentially Earth-like environment, the authors of a study published in the Planetary Science Journal found.
Venus is the second closest planet to the sun, and now has a surface temperature of about 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius) — above the melting point of lead, according to NASA. This is hotter than Mercury, despite Mercury being closer to the sun.

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) said that Jupiter’s movement likely accelerated Venus’ fate as an inhospitable planet.

“As Jupiter migrated, Venus would have gone through dramatic changes in climate, heating up then cooling off and increasingly losing its water into the atmosphere,” said Stephen Kane, UCR astrobiologist, in a statement Wednesday.

“One

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Life on Venus? Jupiter may have made Venus inhabitable



venus habitable


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venus habitable

There’s been a lot of Venus in the news lately and for very good reason. Possible biosignatures were detected in the planet’s atmosphere, hinting at the slim chance that life in some form exists on or above the planet’s surface. But while we ponder what kind of life may exist there, researchers say that the planet probably had a good chance of being habitable if it weren’t for Jupiter’s influence.

In a new study published in the Planetary Science Journal, scientists from UC Riverside in California reveal that Jupiter likely played a big role in the current conditions we see on Venus. Had Jupiter not been involved, the planet might have ended up in a much more favorable location in our solar system.

Using computer models, the researchers suggest that Jupiter’s movement during its very early formative period likely affected Venus in a

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Did NASA detect a hint of life on Venus in 1978 and not realize it?

If life does exist on Venus, NASA may have first detected it back in 1978. But the finding went unnoticed for 42 years.

Life on Venus is still a long shot. But there’s reason to take the idea seriously. On Sept. 14, a team of scientists made a bombshell announcement in the journal Nature Astronomy: Using telescopes, they’d detected phosphine, a toxic gas long proposed as a possible sign of alien microbial life, in the upper part of the planet’s thick atmosphere. The detection was a landmark in the long hunt for life elsewhere in the solar system, which has mostly focused attention on Mars and a few moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn. Meanwhile, Venus, hot and poisonous, was long considered too inhospitable for anything to survive. But now, digging through archival NASA data, Rakesh Mogul, a biochemist at Cal Poly Pomona in California, and colleagues have found

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