Scientists Discover Phosphine On Venus That Could Potentially Hold Microbial Life


Venus is commonly associated with its acidic clouds and inhabitable surface. However, scientists have discovered something that might alter the course of this belief. Researchers have detected a gas called phosphine in the acidic clouds of Venus. The discovery is astounding as it indicates microbes may inhabit Venus, a sign of potential life beyond Earth.

Scientists Discover Phosphine On Venus That Could Hold Life

Life On Venus: What Scientists Discovered

The study published by Nature Astronomy notes that researchers have detected traces of phosphine in small concentrations on Venus - of around 20 parts per billion, which is much more than what can be expected. Although this was initially discovered in 2017, scientists have dug in deeper to confirm and are going public now.

It should be noted that finding phosphine doesn't mean finding life or any form of alien life on Venus. No such images of alien life have been captured either. For now, scientists haven't been able to bring back specimens of the microbes either. In other words, the jointly working scientists from the UK, US, and Japan have discovered a gas that is usually found on Earth - where microbes thrive in the absence of oxygen.

Yet, the discovery is a milestone in understanding life beyond Earth. "This is important because, if it is phosphine, and if it is life, it means that we are not alone. It also means that life itself must be very common, and there must be many other inhabited planets throughout our galaxy," said MIT's molecular astrophysicist and study co-author Clara Sousa-Silva.

Life On Venus: Is It Possible?

Life on Venus is ideally not possible. Despite being our close neighbor and being smaller than our planet, Venus is layered with a thick and toxic atmosphere. The heat trapped here takes the temperature more than 471 degrees Celsius - which is hot enough to melt lead. Plus, Venus also has concentrations of carbon monoxide and high atmospheric pressure.


In such scenarios, life can't survive there. This is also the reason why landing and exploring Venus is extremely difficult. Scientists note that it's extremely difficult to land on Venus as its elements can even destroy metal than lands on its surface - including spacecraft.

Life On Venus: How To Explore?

The possibility of life on Venus is very significant. It symbolizes that Earth isn't the only habitable planet - even if its microbes surviving on other planets. For all we know, this discovery could be even bigger than finding traces of water on Mars (another indication of possible life on another planet). However, exploring Venus is still a herculean task. Space agencies like NASA and ESA are currently emphasizing on going to a more hospitable planet, Mars.


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