Life on Venus? The Clouds May Tell the Story

Something in the atmosphere on Venus that might indicate life. 

Data from two ground-based telescopes on Earth have discovered small quantities of an extremely poisonous gas, phosphine, in the clouds of Venus. There is no known non-biological way for phosphine to exist and so, scientists believe that this gas may indicate “alien microbes”, that would be, microbes that live on Venus!

It is thought that Venus was once covered with water and may have had an atmosphere that could sustain life. The atmosphere right now is not suitable for life as we know it as temperatures can reach more than 420 degrees Celsius (that’s higher than your average oven temperature for cooking and baking).

As for phosphine, even here on earth, Matthew Pasek, a geoscientist at the University of South Florida in Tampa, spoke to the New York Times and said, “There’s not a lot of understanding of where it’s coming from, how it forms, things like that. We’ve seen it associated with where microbes are at, but we have not seen a microbe do it, which is a subtle difference, but an important one.”

Read more from NewScientist or from The New York Times

Image: “Venus photographed in ultraviolet light by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter (Pioneer 12) spacecraft, Feb. 26, 1979”. Image processed and rendered especially for by Pablo Carlos Budassi. Creative Commons license