Sep 17 · Last update 4 mo. ago.

Is there life on Venus?

Research published in September 2020 indicated that scientist have detected phosphine gas in the upper atmosphere of Venus, Earth’s neighbouring planet. There are no known chemical processes or sources that should be able to maintain such constant levels of the gas in the upper atmosphere of Venus, as the compound is highly reactive and would be subject to ultraviolet radiation, or would actively be consumed by atmospheric water and carbon dioxide. On Earth phosphine production is associated with anaerobic extremophile bacteria, leading scientists to propose that the presence of phosphine on Venus could be a biomarker, a sign of the presence of extraterrestrial bacterial life. Does this discover mean that scientists have found life on Venus? Or is this more likely to be human error or a misunderstanding? nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1174-4
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More likely - misunderstood chemistry
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More likely - misunderstood chemistry

This 'discovery' is most likely to be some misunderstanding of the chemistry taking place in the atmosphere of Venus. Not only is the Venusian atmosphere very different to Earth's, but Venus has almost 100 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth, and unbelievably high temperatures, making it highly likely that there may be chemical processes at play that are not fully understood. Life is therefore extremely unlikely to occur here, so the phosphine detected is much more likely to be the result of an unknown photo-/geo-chemical process. If we look elsewhere in the solar system phosphine is also found in the turbulent storm clouds of Jupiter, where the planet's hot interior interacts with compounds in the upper atmosphere to produce large amounts of energy, and phosphine is naturally produced as a byproduct of these massive convective storms.

washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/07/11/the-first-water-clouds-are-found-outside-our-solar-system-around-a-failed-star nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1174-4

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