NASA scientists have debunked claims of life on Venus based on photos taken by a Soviet probe that landed on the planet’s surface 30 years ago.
Russian space expert Leonid Ksanfomaliti, who re-examined the pictures taken by the probe Venus-13 in 1982, claimed to have discovered life on Venus.
Ksanfomaliti of the Space Research Institute at Russia’s Academy of Sciences, said the images showed a scorpion-shaped body, a disc and a ‘black flap," which apparently moved as the probe’s camera records the scene.
"They all ‘emerge, fluctuate and disappear," explained Ksanfomaliti, writing in the Russian journal Solar System Research magazine, according to a Russian news agency.
"What if we forget about the current theories about the non-existence of life on Venus, let’s boldly suggest that the objects’ morphological features would allow us to say that they are living," he added.
But NASA photo analysts said the ‘disc’ that is seen ‘moving’ on the surface is in fact a lens cap, and the ‘scorpion’ seen by Ksanfomaliti is in fact ‘noise’ in a second-hand picture, which is not present in the original image, the Daily Mail reported.
Ted Stryk, a NASA photo analyst says that it’s more likely that the ‘disc’ in particular came from the craft.
"Venera-13 had two cameras, one in front and one in back. The one image shows the front camera lens cap and the other shows the rear camera lens cap, not one lens cap that moved," he said, in comments on Life’s Little Mysteries.
Venera 13 and 14 were identical Russian space probes built to take advantage of the 1981 Venus launch opportunity. They launched 5 days apart.
Jonathon Hill, a NASA mission planner, also commented, "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 instrument,"
The scorpion ‘found’ by Ksanfomaliti is also just ‘noise’ in a digital image, say experts - and it’s not in the original image.