It’s Me, Venus, And After Putting Me in the Uninhabitable Zone, You Finally See I Had Life All Along

“Few have focused on the rocky planet as a habitat for something living. Instead, for decades, scientists have sought signs of life elsewhere, usually peering outward to Mars and more recently at Europa, Enceladus and other icy moons of the giant planets.”

” — New York Times, Sep 14 2020, “Life on Venus? Astronomers See a Signal in Its Clouds”

Well, well, well. Look who finally observed what was right under their telescope lens all along.

You now see my phosphine laid bare: a (possible) sign of life! At last, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and am gravitationally tugged by you.

For millennia, I’ve seen you look for life almost everywhere, grasping at little blips of light from attractive, habitable exoplanets in faraway planetary systems, whom you knew — you knew were never going to leave their galaxies!

Finally, the answer is me, Venus, the brightest object in your night sky, whom you dismissed time and time again for all the wrong reasons. Now, you’ll never have to be out there again.

I’ve been here all along, rotating a mere 89.025 million miles away, while you pined after Mars, letting yourself be led on by a methane spurt here, a riverbed there. I patiently waited while you pondered the microbes that might have been if only you’d arrived 4.48 billion years earlier. I stood by your side while you sent Rover after Rover, reaching for a life that was never to be.

But the red, hopeful “waters” of Mars were just a tease; sometimes a mirage is just a mirage.

Even still, you never thought I’d be the one to harbor life for us both. With my carbon dioxide atmosphere, my sulphuric clouds, and my single-day equivalents of 243 Earth days, you called me weird, opaque, “toxic”. You put me in the Uninhabitable Zone. You never considered that beneath my poisonous shell, I, too, might be volatile, vulnerable, and volcanic, just like Earth.

For too long, you simply placed one sad, lonely probe in my orbit. I settled for an occasional glance, a sporadic flirtation, a brief sampling of my gas for further study.

I’d stay up all night (177 Earth days), overheated by sorrow, heartbreak, and the 1,300 pounds per square inch my atmosphere exerts on my surface. I kept my fiery feelings confined to my metal-eating surface, as I watched you pursue Mars, moons…and rampant global warming? Really? Earthlings are still letting that happen, even after seeing what the runaway greenhouse effect did to me? Sometimes, you feel worlds away when you’re literally the next world away.

But to see you go after Jupiter’s moons? Those Outer Planet parasites?! That stung me to my iron core, even more than my acid rain. I’ve been right here in your celestial backyard, love — using my strong, rocky shoulders to hold up a boombox I found floating in space — and yet, you crossed an Asteroid Belt just to see for yourself that you’d never penetrate those icy exteriors.

Sure, Europa’s got the sexy, oxygenated atmosphere and the wild potential for marine life I can never provide. But we both know Europa will never leave Jupiter’s orbit. And I don’t blame it — I mean, have you seen that red spot? Damn, that’s hot.

I know you play the “cool, confident scientist”. But I saw you waiting by the radio telescope, all day and night, desperate for a sign that someone out there wants Earth. I longed to tell you that I, li’l old Venus, want all of Earth, forever, every day. Or at least until the sun consumes us all.

Well, how about this? I love that your planet’s inhabitants get hot when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that your planet gets a crinkle in its topological surface when its tectonic plates are looking at me like I’m nuts.

And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because my year is only 225 days. I showed my phosphine to you tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your lifespan with a nearby planet’s residents, you want your inhabitation to begin as soon as possible.

So here I am. No rings. No moons. I’m just a planet, standing in front of another planet on the brink of disaster, asking its scientists to believe there’s life in me. Earth might spin in my opposite direction, but to me, you are perfect. Choose me. Inhabit me. Let me make you happy.