A Russian scientist says that a video of the surface of Venus from a Soviet probe sent there in 1982 shows evidence of a scorpion-like creature, along with other objects that he believes are evidence of life. However, NASA scientists say the objects in question are more likely video distortions and a lens cap.
Leonid Ksanfomaliti works for the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and recently published his detailed analysis of video taken by the Russian Venus-13 probe. His article in the Russian Solar System Research (Astronomicheskii Vestnik) magazine points out three objects he says were constantly moving. Besides the "scorpion", Ksanfomaliti pointed out a disk shaped object and a black patch.
The idea of life on Venus is not given much credence by most mainstream scientists because of the extreme surface temperatures, which can exceed 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aleksandr Bazilevsky, chief of the Russian Academy of Science's Geochemistry Institute, is one of those scientists. He told Russia Today that Ksanfomaliti is "a true, serious scientist," however, "life forms we are familiar with are protein-based and they would never survive on Venus."
NASA scientists also have their doubts. NASA mission planner Jonathan Hill told the Daily Mail, "It makes much more sense that it's a piece of the lander designed to break off during the deployment of one of the scientific instruments." Other experts disregard the disc as a lens cap, and argue that the object Ksanfomaliti believes to be a scorpion-like creature is actually just distortion from noise in the video.
Ksanfomaliti doesn't think the objects are simply technical glitches. He says:
Without going into the present conception that life would be impossible on Venus given its conditions, we can take a long shot and say that the given morphological characteristics allow us to assume that certain objects [registered on the planet's surface] have qualities of living beings... [They] emerge, fluctuate and disappear.
Ksanfomaliti claims the scorpion-like creature moves around for 26 minutes before disappearing. He thinks there may have even been other creatures in the area that were scared away by the probe's touchdown.
Ksanfomaliti says he knew the video was important in the 80s, but he chose not share his discoveries. He decided to reexamine the video given recent discoveries of earth-sized planets outside our solar system. He plans to continue publishing his findings.