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Denton: Science on Venus?

David Klinghoffer


What a difference having just the right atmosphere makes. NASA has announced a scheme to fly manned airships in the upper atmosphere of Venus, thus evading the “hellish” conditions (that adjective is often applied to the planet) below. 

On a new episode of ID the Future, Sarah Chaffee talks with biologist Michael Denton about his new book, Children of Light. She asks him about his observation, echoing Carl Sagan, that if there ever could have been life on the surface of Venus, those life forms would be severely impeded in whatever pursuit of science they may have attempted. Why? Because the thick atmosphere impedes the rays of the sun, and all other light, which would mean being forever forbidden from gazing to the stars and trying learn about their place in the cosmos.

Download the podcast or listen to it here. They go on to discuss the wondrous confluence of properties and processes — light, the nature of Earth’s atmosphere, photosynthesis — that make it possible for “light-eaters” like us to live on Earth where we could not on Venus. Yes, Denton concedes, he regards that confluence as the result of “divine” intent.

Photo credit: Airships over Venus, as imagined by NASA/Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate.