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Mon Sep 14, 2020, 11:56 AM

Is there life floating in the clouds of Venus? (BBC)

Is there life floating in the clouds of Venus?
By Jonathan Amos
BBC Science Correspondent
11:10 am 9/14/2020

It's an extraordinary possibility - the idea that living organisms are floating in the clouds of Planet Venus. But this is what astronomers are now considering after detecting a gas in the atmosphere they can't explain.

That gas is phosphine - a molecule made up of one phosphorus atom and three hydrogen atoms.
On Earth, phosphine is associated with life, with microbes living in the guts of animals like penguins, or in oxygen-poor environments such as swamps.

For sure, you can make it industrially, but there are no factories on Venus; and there are certainly no penguins. So why is this gas there, 50km up from the planet's surface? Prof Jane Greaves, from Cardiff University, UK and colleagues are asking just this question.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54133538

5 replies, 826 views

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Reply Is there life floating in the clouds of Venus? (BBC) (Original post)
bronxiteforever Sep 2020 OP
Judi Lynn Sep 2020 #1
bronxiteforever Sep 2020 #2
Judi Lynn Sep 2020 #3
bronxiteforever Sep 2020 #4
Silent3 Sep 2020 #5

Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Mon Sep 14, 2020, 12:05 PM

1. Strange chemical in clouds of Venus defies explanation. Could it be a sign of life?

By Meghan Bartels an hour ago

Is there life on Venus? A new discovery suggests we should look harder.


Discovering life beyond Earth may well start with a sniff, a whiff of some chemical that scientists struggle to explain without invoking a strange, shadowy microbe. That first step has happened on Mars and on a few distant moons, and now, scientists suggest, on Venus.

A team of astronomers announced today (Sept. 14) that it has spotted the chemical fingerprint of phosphine, which scientists have suggested may be tied to life, in the clouds of the second rock from the sun. The finding is no guarantee that life exists on Venus, but researchers say it's a tantalizing find that emphasizes the need for more missions to the hot, gassy planet next door.

"The interpretation that it's potentially due to life, I think, is probably not the first thing I would go for," Victoria Meadows, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the new research, told Space.com.



An image of Venus captured by Japan's Akatsuki spacecraft on May 6, 2016.
(Image credit: J. Greaves/Cardiff University, (CC BY 4.0))

But it is an intriguing detection, she said, and one that emphasizes how we overlook our neighbor. "We have some explaining to do," she continued. "This discovery especially is just another reminder of how much more we have yet to learn about Venus."

More:
https://www.space.com/venus-clouds-possible-life-chemical-discovery.html

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 14, 2020, 12:11 PM

2. +1000 great article Judi More thorough than the BBC one.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 14, 2020, 06:12 PM

3. Looks as if we were out looking around at about the same time, roughly, caught the early articles.

Just a matter of chance, in my case.

I didn't expect to ever see anything like the news these articles bring today, did you?

BBC is a great science source, too. They're really active.

Thanks.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 14, 2020, 07:32 PM

4. I definitely did not expect this.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Sun Sep 20, 2020, 11:35 AM

5. "and there are certainly no penguins"

So sure are we?

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