Is there life on Planet Venus?
Scientists checked traces of phosphine gas that could be coming from MICROBES in clouds swirling high in the planet’s atmosphere. Phosphine is a colorless gas that kinda smells like garlic or decaying fish. Here on Earth, it is produced naturally by a bacteria or from a decaying organic matter.
Experts led from the UK have found traces of the gas in the clouds above Venus. Unlike on the planet’s surface, conditions in the upper cloud layer are Earth-like. However, experts have warned that there could be other sources for the gas.
The second-closest planet to the Sun, Venus is known as difficult to live in— with temperatures on its surface (pictured, as imaged by the Magellan spacecraft) of around 867°F (464°C) and pressures 92 times that of on the Earth. However, its upper cloud deck — 33–38 miles above the surface — is a more temperate 120°F (50°C), with a pressure equal to that at Earth sea level.
A discovery of a strange gas in its atmosphere puts the planet “into the realm of a perhaps inhabited world,” .This is one of the most exciting signs of the possible presence of life beyond Earth I have ever seen — and certainly from the most surprising location I could imagine,’ said astronomer Alan Duffy, who was not involved in the present study.
‘Our twin planet Venus is a hot and hellish world,’ added the expert from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.
‘While the surface is hot enough to melt lead, the temperature drops as you go higher into the clouds, becoming Earth-like in both temperature and pressure by an altitude of 50 kilometres [31 miles], exactly where the phosphine was found.’
‘While the temperature is benign, the clouds contain sulphuric acid which should break down the phosphine,’ he continued.
This, he explained, means that ‘something is forming it anew — and as phosphine is associated with life on Earth, it is tempting to think it could be life on Venus.’
‘But before we can become more confident about that we have to rule out all possible other non-biological means of producing it.’
The full story of the findings were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.