We Interrupt This Mess To Bring You Life on Venus

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Note: not a photograph. Artist impression via The Guardian.

The announcement that Venus may have had conditions hospitable for life once again rearranges our place in the solar system.

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Sounds From A Sunless Sea: The Mariana Trench Recordings

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If you are here, you’re probably in some trouble

When I was a kid the coolest thing I could think of was the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. I used to say, incorrectly, that it was more than two Everests deep- Mt Everest, along with Rhode Island, being a standard unit of measurement at the time (“If you stood everyone in Rhode Island on each other’s shoulders in the Mariana Trench, most would die in terrible agony!”). Learning more, the ocean’s depths just get more amazing, and more inhuman: mud volcanos, liquid sulfur, CO2 vents, and the weirdest creatures in the world, living endless generations without knowing that humans are walking around arguing about sports.

So it is a particularly childlike and adult awe that greets the news of the first sound recordings from that crushing place. They found, much to their surprise, that it wasn’t silent, and that more than that, they heard sounds from all over the ocean. The area acts as kind of a vast echo chamber, with strange and disquieting sounds rumbling through the darkness.

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