Russian Researcher Suggests Venera-13 Imaged Life on Venus

Russian renowned researcher Dr. Leonid Ksanfomality has reported that he found several objects resembling living beings on images made by the Venera-13 spacecraft.

Image of Venus’ surface taken by Venera-13 (Dr. Ksanfomality / Astronomicheskii Vestnik)

Dr. Ksanfomality is a senior researcher and a head of the Laboratory on Photometry and Thermal Radiometry at the Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, and a contributor to Venera missions in 1970-80s.

Dr. Leonid Ksanfomality (rssi.ru)

In the discussion paper, published in the January issue of the journal Astronomicheskii Vestnik (Solar System Research), the researcher re-examines panoramic images taken by the Soviet landing probe Venera-13 and describes three objects which he claims have some characteristics of living organisms.

This probe successfully landed on Venus in the Navka Planitia in the eastern part of an elevated region known as Phoebe Regio on March 1, 1982. It survived for some 127 minutes and returned panoramic images of Venus’ surface.

Venera-13 lander

Dr. Ksanfomality analyzes a few series of images taken by two cameras (V-13-1 and V-13-2) of the Venera-13 in attempt to identify objects or phenomena associated with their appearance, disappearance or change of their forms.

“A few relatively large objects were found with size ranging from a decimeter to half meter and with unusual morphology. The objects were observed on some images, but were absent on others, or altered their shape,” the researcher writes in the paper.

“Among the relatively large disappearing or changing elements, first of all, there is a ‘disk’. The object has a regular shape and refers to the planet’s surface as no parts of the lander similar in shape were detached. ‘Disk’ is cut by the upper boundary of the image, only its lower half part is seen. It is about 0.34 m in diameter.”

Dr. Ksanfomality hypothesizes that a position of the ‘disk’ changed a little relatively to the upper limit of the image due to heating of the lander and a slight change in a position of the optical axis of the scanning camera.

Change in the position and shape of the ‘disk’ (a) and the ‘chevron’ (b) (Dr. Ksanfomality / Astronomicheskii Vestnik)

“The figure shows a sequence of images of ‘disk’ (arrow a) and its surroundings. In the first two frames of the figure, the shape of ‘disk’ and ‘broom’ almost do not change. At the 72 minute at the bottom of the disk a short arc appeared. In frame (86 min) the arc lengthened by several times, and the ‘disk’ was divided into fragments. In the next frame (93 min), instead of the ‘disk’ the symmetrical bright object appeared of about the same size and of a regular shape (b). It is formed by numerous angular folds, such as chevrons,” he writes.

The second object, which attracted attention of Dr. Ksanfomality, is a ‘black rag’. “In the image, obtained in the period of 0–13 min after landing, one can see that a vertically elongated black object of unknown origin, ‘a black rag’, measuring about 60 mm in height, emerged, wrapping along its full height the measuring cone (for soil mechanical properties measurements). On the two subsequent images taken in 27 and 36 min respectively, the object disappeared without a trace.”

‘Black rag’ object appears within the first 13 min after landing close to the conical measuring hammer, partly penetrated into the soil (Dr. Ksanfomality / Astronomicheskii Vestnik)

The most interesting object is a ‘scorpion’. It appeared together with the adjacent ‘semiring’ at its right side around the 90th min after landing on an image taken by the V-13-1  camera.

“Before the appearance of the ‘scorpion’ the lander has been working for more than 1 hr 27 min. Thus, our first assumption was that this regular structure was a product of destruction of some part of the lander. But the lander Venera-13 continued to work after it for a full hour. The systems’ operability showed that the crash had not happened yet, otherwise the lander would have failed due to catastrophic overheating,” Dr. Ksanfomality analyzes.

The ‘scorpion’ appears around the 90th min (Dr. Ksanfomality / Astronomicheskii Vestnik)

“On the first image (7 min), on the ejected soil is a shallow oblong groove visible, with its length about 100 mm. In the second image (20 min) sides of the grooves are raised, and the length increased to about 150 mm. The orientation of the grooves is the same as that of the ‘scorpion’. In the picture of the 59th min a part of the regular structure of the ‘scorpion’ appeared,” the author describes in detail.

“On the 93rd minute, the ‘scorpion’, apparently, recovered completely from the soil that filled it, that was consisting a layer probably not exceeding a 1–2 cm. Thus, the rescue operation of the object took about 1.5 hr. One can assume that this indicates its limited physical abilities. On the 119th min it was no longer visible.”

A close-up of the ‘scorpion’ on the image V-13-1-6 BW (Dr. Ksanfomality / Astronomicheskii Vestnik)

“Analysis of the available technical documentation also showed that all the external operations (e.g. throwing away of the lids, drilling of the ground) had been completed for a minimum period of time, not exceeding 30 minutes, and that nothing else had separated from the lander. The assumption of a separated part contradicts also the fact that in the subsequent images the object ‘scorpion’ is missing.”

Dr. Ksanfomality also emphasizes that no retouching or adding details was applied to the image processing.

The ‘scorpion’ (1), a low-contrast object (2) and a pattern (K) (Dr. Ksanfomality / Astronomicheskii Vestnik)

The author explains that there was a strong impact on the surface when the probe landed and that it destroyed the soil to a depth of about 4.5 cm ejecting it aside.

“Because of the small side speed of the lander, directed approximately to the side of the V-13-1 camera, the soil was ejected in one direction. Therefore, both powdered buffer and surface are visible mainly at the V-13-1 camera’s side. On the same side the spectrophotometer on board Venera-13 recorded 2-fold decrease in the signal, duration for 7–10 s, probably because of the cloud of dust.”

Dr. Ksanfomality concludes that “Initially, the lander produced a strong noise, firing pyropatrons and working a drilling unit that also used pyrotechnic mechanisms. It can be assumed that the ‘inhabitants’ at the V-13-2 camera side (if any existed there), had left the dangerous area. But from the V-13-1 camera side they did not have time for escaping and were buried by the ejected soil. Apparently, the physical capabilities of buried objects were low, since they released slowly from the soil, which explains the 1.5 hr delay in their appearance.”

_______

Bibliographic information: L. V. Ksanfomality. 2012. Venus as a Natural Laboratory for Search of Life in High Temperature Conditions: Events on the Planet on March 1, 1982. Solar System Research (Astronomicheskii Vestnik) 46, No. 1; doi: 10.1134/S0038094612010042