Sign of alien life found on Venus

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 15, 2020

"I'm cautiously very excited", Stone, co-ordinator of the Queen's Observatory, said.

On Earth, phosphine is only made industrially, or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. The new discovery, led by Cardiff University and including Imperial College London researchers, is described today in a paper in Nature Astronomy.

Scientists have spotted evidence of potential life on the planet Venus, though they emphasized that more work needs to be done to confirm whether or not life - possibly aerial microbes - exists or whether there is an alternative non-biological explanation for their findings.

Artist's impression of Venus and the phosphine (PH3) detected in the atmosphere.

"If life can survive in that, then that might mean life is more common in the universe than we ever thought before". They found phosphine at levels ranging from five to 20 parts per billion - thousands of times more than what's in Earth's atmosphere. Sara Seager, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Perhaps life originated when Venus was cooler with liquid or water oceans, but as Venus heated up and underwent its catastrophic runaway greenhouse, the oceans evaporated and the surface became so hot that any life would have been killed". New space missions could also travel to our neighbouring planet and sample the clouds in situ to further search for signs of life.

Venus is known to be hot and acidic, which is why the conditions on the ground would make any kind of life nearly impossible, but the environment on its upper cloud decks is reported to be habitable.

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"(To) determine whether there is life in the clouds of Venus, substantial modelling and experimentation will be important", they concluded.

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