Possible signs of life discovered on Venus

Possible signs of life discovered on Venus

Researchers have spotted phosphine, a rare and toxic gas, in the atmosphere of Venus, suggesting that it may be home to alien life. Can people also live on our neighboring planet?

Venus, a planet named after the Roman goddess of beauty, roasts at hundreds of degrees. It is cloaked by clouds that contain droplets of corrosive sulfuric acid.

Few have focused on the rocky planet as a habitat for something living. And most scientists believe that it is impossible to live in.

Not until today.

Possible signs of life

An international team of astronomers has detected a rare molecule in the atmosphere of Venus. Indeed, this substance can be produced by living organisms, according to a study published Monday.

The discovery instantly puts the brightest planet in the night sky back into the conversation about where to search for extraterrestrial life. As reported by The Washington Post, the researchers claim that this is not a direct detection of life on Venus. However, astronomical observations confirmed the highly intriguing presence of chemical phosphines near the top of acidic clouds that blanket the planet.

Possible signs of life discovered on Venus

Phosphine is a colorless, flammable, explosive gas, and a simple molecule. The substance is produced on Earth by bacteria and through industrial processes. As a result, it is on the list of considered potential “biosignatures” molecules by scientists.

Biosignatures are substances most commonly known as chemical fossils or molecular fossils. It is a phenomenon that provides scientific evidence of past or present life, including an element, isotope, or molecule.

Are aliens living on Venus?

This discovery is not a direct observation of life on the planet Venus. But the absolute quantity of phosphine on our neighbor has no explanation through any known process. This has led researchers to suggest that it is a sign of alien life in our solar system.

According to the group who studied this matter, they know no non-biological explanation for the relatively high abundance of the molecule in the Venusian atmosphere.

“We did our very best to show what else would be causing phosphine in the abundance we found on Venus. And we found nothing. We found nothing close,” said Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-author of the paper published Monday in Nature Astronomy.

The surface of Venus is burning and acidic. So the conditions on the ground would make any life difficult. In contrast, the environment in its upper cloud decks is thought to be more habitable – about 35 miles up, and the conditions are more temperate.

Images courtesy of Verge Science/YouTube Screenshot

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