20,000,000 Miles to Earth

I was recently watching this classic 50’s sci-fi/monster flick about a group of astronauts crash-landing on Earth after visiting Venus and retrieving a form of pupal-staged life.  This life form is accidentally released in Italy (it was interesting that they picked a foreign location. Usually its an American city such as Washington, D. C. that gets trounced). The monster looks a bit like a Tyrannasaurus with more of a human-like face (or at least a face that can show expression).

Though there’s nothing much that’s scientifically accurate in the film besides maybe the title (at its closest, Venus is closer to 27 million miles from Earth, but we can allow for that small deviation from facts), it might be fun considering what could live on Venus. With a surface temperature close to 800 F, we can pretty much bet on no man really being able to survive there, and certainly not on the surface. In fact, the only man made robotic probe that ever reached the surface was the Russian probe Venera (this was in the early 1970’s), and it only survived long enough to take a few snapshots of its own landing pad next to some rocks. Perhaps Venus would have to be home to the rock-like creatures in Star Trek episode “The Savage Curtain,” or maybe the Horta, also of Star Trek (“Devil in the Dark”), that was a bubble-like creature that carve tunnels through rock by emitting an acid as it moved. There was some discussion in “Devil in the Dark” that such life could be based on silicon instead of carbon. Though we’re pretty sure that Venus itself does not have such life, we can speculate that such inhospitable environments might have silicon based life.

If you want to see more, check out my book,  The Physics and Astronomy of Science Fiction by Steven D. Bloom, published by McFarland and available through your favorite online bookseller or direct from the publisher.

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