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venus-bio-signatures.pngPossible Bio-Signatures on Venus? New Phosphine Discovery

Planetary researchers revealed in Nature Astronomy (nature.com): the finding of phosphine in the atmosphere of our neighbor planet, Venus. Many headlines jumped to the conclusion that Venus must harbor life of some kind, because of the presence of phosphine. The researchers behind the study, however, urged caution in the conclusion, while also emphasizing how exciting and important the discovery is.

One reason for the excitement is the fact that, on Earth, phosphine gas is produced by some anerobic microorganisms such as bacteria. It is therefore considered that the presence of phosphine in an atmosphere could indicate the presence of similar organisms. So, when researchers discovered abundant phosphine in the clouds of Venus, this set off considerable excitement, and could be one of the most significant finds in planetary exploration yet. The study researchers undertook, included exhaustive research into various chemical and photochemical pathways to rule out other potential sources of phosphine. And they concede that there could be another explanation for the presence of the gas that has not yet been revealed. Nevertheless, the presence of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of our neighbor planet Venus has sparked many questions that merit answering. The wonder of science is that for every question answered, more unfold. Is there life on Venus? We don’t know yet, but we can certainly find out.    

 

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