QR.bizNewsHints of life on Venus

Hints of life on Venus

Scientists on Monday said they have detected in the harshly acidic clouds of Earth's neighbour - a gas called phosphine that indicates microbes may inhabit what was thought to be an inhospitable planet. If phosphine on Venus is truly triggered by alien life, it can only be in the form of microbes, which is far from the little green men with advanced technology that we're all hoping to encounter.

"Life on Venus? The discovery of phosphine, a byproduct of anaerobic biology, is the most significant development yet in building the case for life off Earth", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted Monday.

The team first used the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii to detect the phosphine, and were then awarded time to follow up their discovery with 45 antennae of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. But their research was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and the limited time Venus spends above Earth's horizon.

More recently, the focus has switched to another planet in the solar system in a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

This research was led by an worldwide team leading by Jane Greaves from Cardiff University. Bacteria in the clouds on Earth last about a week, but on Venus, clouds are a permanent feature of the planet's atmosphere. She said finding it on Venus is exciting and extraordinary. He said: "We expected that the signal would go away as we processed the data, but it didn't".

Therefore, you can easily guess why scientists believe that there could be alien life on Venus.

While the discovery is "not robust evidence for life" on the planet, there's now no abiotic (physical) explanation as to the presence of the gas, which means biological life can't be ruled out at this point. The discovery raises many questions, such as how any organisms could survive. Although the high clouds of Venus have temperatures around a warm 50 degrees centigrade, they are incredibly acidic - around 90 percent sulphuric acid - posing major issues for microbes to survive there.

Hence, is why it can be greatly presumed as a biosignature or an indication of life.

Phosphine is one of the most foul-smelling gases known to man, with the odour of rotting fish, it is often found in penguin dung and pond slime. The sign is represented by traces of phosphine, a toxic gas that shouldn't be present judging by what scientists knew previously about Venus.

Based on a press release by the Royal Astronomical Society.

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