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Scientists Discover Possible Signs of Life on Venus

Scientists have discovered possible signs of life on Venus, high in its toxic atmosphere. In the earlier days of the solar system, as earth prospered and became suitable for life, Venus transformed into something like a fiery wasteland. 

As the sun aged, Venus grew hotter. Venus’ oceans eventually boiled away. The atmosphere flooded with carbon dioxide without an ocean to dissolve it. Venus is stifled by extreme heat. Visiting and researching this planet is far from easy. Spacecrafts that have attempted to land on the surface of Venus have been  melted and crushed because the planet essentially eats metal.

“Either there is some sort of life in the Venus clouds, generating phosphine, or there is unexplained and unexpected chemistry taking place there”

Paul K. Byrne, planetary scientist and scholar at North Carolina State University. 

Phosphine, a toxic gas produced by organic life forms was discovered in Venus’s atmosphere. “Either there is some sort of life in the Venus clouds, generating phosphine, or there is unexplained and unexpected chemistry taking place there” claims Paul K. Byrne, planetary scientist and scholar at North Carolina State University. 

Phosphine would be deadly to life relying on oxygen. Anaerobic organisms or some form of bacteria may transpire. “This is an astonishing and ‘out of the blue’ finding,” said Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But some scientists argue that  phosphine is produced by unexplained atmospheric or geologic processes. “It will definitely fuel more research into the possibilities for life in Venus’s atmosphere.”

mars

The work needs to be followed up, “but this could be the first observation we’ve made which reveals an alien biosphere and, what do you know, it’s on the closest planet to home in the entire cosmos” says David Grinspoon of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. He was not part of the finding of the phosphine but has long promoted the possibility of life in Venus’s clouds. If the phosphine detected on the next door planet is a signature of alien biology, a probe or a robotic mechanism will be sent to investigate.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/science/venus-life-clouds.html

https://earthsky.org/space/detection-phosphine-venus-clouds-sign-of-life

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/hope-life-venus-survives-centuries-against-all-odds

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/life-on-venus-robotic-missions/2020/09/19/fba4ec66-f782-11ea-89e3-4b9efa36dc64_story.html

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