Scientists Detect Possible Signs Of Life In The Clouds Of Planet Venus

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As far as we know, Earth is the only planet that supports life in the solar system. However, yesterday, a team of astrophysicists and planetary scientists discovered something interesting in the atmosphere of Venus that could be a sign of extraterrestrial life. According to The New York Times, with the help of telescopes on Earth, they detected a gas named phosphine in Venus’ clouds.

But what exactly does phosphine have to do with alien life?

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CNN reports that phosphine on Earth is either found when organic matter breaks down or when bacteria that don’t need oxygen produce it i.e. the source is biological. On Venus, it could be found due to 3 reasons – chemistry (chemical processes), geology (volcanoes, meteorites, lightning etc), or biology (microbes). The study published in the journal Nature Astronomy says that the most plausible explanation of the gas (given the data we have), is life.

The study’s co-author Sara Seager was quoted saying, “(One) is that some unknown chemistry is occurring in the Venus atmosphere, surface, or subsurface. We find this explanation tough to accept because (of) Venus’s temperature and pressure range and the fact that Venus has nearly zero hydrogens mean(s) phosphine is not the natural form of the element phosphorus. Instead, phosphorus should be present as phosphates.”

The Indian Express quoted lead author Jane Greaves saying, “If it’s microorganisms, they would have access to some sunlight and water, and maybe live in liquid droplets to stop themselves dehydrating, but they would need some unknown mechanism to protect against corrosion by acid.”

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However, some experts are not convinced and say we require much more research before saying for sure that there is alien life on Venus.

What do you think of this discovery?

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