Scientists Find Possible Sign of Life on Venus

By: | September 16th, 2020

Image courtesy: Wikimedia

Scientists have long been searching for alien life. Now a discovery suggests researchers may have just found alien life in our solar system.

Is there Life on Venus?

Recently scientists detected traces of phosphine gas in the clouds above Venus. This discovery indicates potential signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus.

Phosphine is a colorless gas that smells like garlic or decaying fish. On Earth, this gas is naturally produced mostly by certain microorganisms in the absence of oxygen.

The surface of Venus is uninhabitable

With sulphuric acid rains, suffocating CO2 atmosphere, surface atmospheric pressure 100 times greater than Earth, Venus is uninhabitable. However, researchers assume that some microbial life may be able to survive in the planet’s atmosphere. On the other hand, it might be a result of some abiotic chemical processes that we are not aware of.

Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist at the University of Westminster, said, “This would certainly be a very hellish environment. It is hot, it is exceedingly acidic. I don’t think any astrobiologist, and certainly not myself, would ever have put Venus at the top of the list,” 

But researchers have cautioned just phosphine detection is not enough evidence for alien microbial life. 

 A lot more research will be required to better explore the origin of the gas.

The research team wrote in their paper, “Phosphine could originate from unknown photochemistry or geochemistry — or, by analogy with biological production of phosphine on Earth, from the presence of life,”

They added, “If no known chemical process can explain phosphine within the upper atmosphere of Venus, then it must be produced by a process not previously considered plausible for Venusian conditions.”

“This could be unknown photochemistry or geochemistry — or possibly life.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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