Astronomers Detect Potential Signs of Life on Venus

Image of Maat Mons on Venus taken by the Magellan spacecraft

Image of Maat Mons on Venus taken by the Magellan spacecraft

"I'm cautiously very excited", Stone, co-ordinator of the Queen's Observatory, said.

"On Earth, phosphine is only associated with life", added Prof. "This has the potential to be the biggest news in astronomy, but of course we have to do our due diligence and rule out any other possibilities".

According to the Independent, biosignatures in the form of phosphine have been detected on Venus, suggesting that there could be life there. The worldwide team, which includes researchers from Britain, the USA and Japan, published their findings in two papers - the science journal Nature on Monday, and Astrobiology journal on Saturday. Although the high clouds of Venus have temperatures around a warm 50 degrees centigrade, they are incredibly acidic - around 90 percent sulphuric acid - posing major issues for microbes to survive there.

Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: "This is an astonishing and "out of the blue" finding".

COVID-19: Luxury house Louis Vuitton to launch $1k face shield
And Burberry in August said it would start selling $120 face masks in its plaid print, donating 20 per cent to coronavirus relief. In early April, Louis Vuitton repurposed its French factories to make non-surgical masks.

- Its thick atmosphere traps in heat in what is considered a runaway greenhouse effect, rendering Venus the solar system's hottest planet. They found phosphine at levels ranging from five to 20 parts per billion - thousands of times more than what's in Earth's atmosphere. New space missions could also travel to our neighbouring planet and sample the clouds in situ to further search for signs of life. Scientists believe that Venus long ago may have possessed conditions that could have allowed for living organisms to evolve, though its surface now is considered completely inhospitable to life.

"(To) determine whether there is life in the clouds of Venus, substantial modelling and experimentation will be important", they concluded.

"That would be just wonderful".

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.