Possible signs of life have been detected on Venus.
Scientists have spotted phosphine, a rare and toxic gas, in the atmosphere of our neighbor planet, indicating that it may be home to alien life.
In these gas clouds, scientists spotted traces of phosphine, which is life-related on Earth, with telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, according to DW. Although one of the authors of the study, David Clement, gives only a 10 percent chance that life could exist on Venus, this discovery is also extremely exciting.
On Earth, phosphine is one of the most foul-smelling gases, with the odor of rotting fish, and is found in places such as the bottom of dried ponds and in the intestines of some animals. It was used as a chemical weapon during the First World War and it is made through some industrial processes. It is also created by anaerobic organisms, including bacteria and microbes.
An international team of researchers led by Jane Greaves from Cardiff University reported the findings in an article, Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus, published in Nature Astronomy.
They caution that there is no way to know for sure what the findings mean, concluding in the paper that the detection is “is not robust evidence for life, only for anomalous and unexplained chemistry”, and that further work will be required to know for certain. But they have ruled out all other explanations based on what we know about Venus.
“Either phosphine is produced by some sort of chemical or geological process that no one knows about – or there could be a biological reason,” said Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astrophysicist from the Royal Observatory Greenwich and an author on the paper.
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Venus is an uninhabitable planet with a high temperature of 425 degrees Celsius and no water. However, astronomers explain that 48 kilometers above the surface of Venus, there is a thick layer of carbon dioxide that has cooled to room temperature and contains tiny droplets of water and sulfuric acid.