Possible Signs of Life Discovered on Venus: Scientists

Scientists said they detected traces of phosphine in the clouds of Venus.

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Possible signs of life have been discovered in the atmosphere of Venus, according to an international team of scientists, reported AFP.

“Traces of phosphine gas, which on Earth can be attributed to living organisms, have been found around 50 kilometres up in the planet’s atmosphere,” scientists said on Monday, 14 September.

“We concluded there is no known chemical and physical process that could conceivably produce phosphine,” Dr Janusz Petkowski of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in America told N World.

According to scientists, conditions on Venus are often described as ‘hellish’ with daytime temperatures hot enough to melt lead and an atmosphere comprised almost entirely of carbon dioxide, reported AFP.


“This opens a rather bold possibility that there might be something living in the clouds of Venus,” said scientists, adding that they also detected traces of phosphine, a flammable gas that occurs from breaking down of organic substance.

However, the team of scientists at Nature Astronomy said that the presence of phosphine does not indicate the presence of life on Venus.

According to the researchers, the clouds swirling about its broiling surface are highly acidic and therefore destroy phosphine very quickly, reported AFP. Hence, the researchers conducted several modelling calculations to explain the presence of new phosphine.

Alan Duffy, an astronomer from Swinburne University and Lead Scientist of The Royal Institution of Australia said that it is tempting to believe that the phosphine was produced by lifeforms, but the scientists have ruled out all possible non-biological means of producing it.

Duffy called the finding “one of the most exciting signs” of the possible presence of life beyond Earth, he told AFP.

(With inputs from AFP and N World)

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Topics:  science   Venus   Planets 

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