Could there be life… around Venus?! That’s a question being asked by some UK scientists, who found evidence of phosphine, a gas associated with life, around the planet’s atmosphere, BBC News reported.
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.
They’ve published a paper in the journal Nature Astronomy detailing their observations of phosphine at Venus, as well as the investigations they’ve made to try to show this molecule could have a natural, non-biological origin. But for the moment, they’re stumped… Given everything we know about Venus and the conditions that exist there, no-one has yet been able to describe an abiotic pathway to phosphine, not in the quantities that have been detected. This means a life source deserves consideration.