A new study is published in the journal of Nature Astronomy, which suggests that there is a possibility of life on Venus. A considerable amount of phosphine has been detected in the atmosphere of the planet; the quantities are high enough to speculate the presence of an alien species in our solar system.
As of now, it remains uncertain, and the researchers are advising against jumping to conclusions. And although the paper states that it is not robust evidence for life, it is only unexplained chemistry. All other explanations have been ruled out. The one that remains proposes the existence of alien life.
Here is a bit of clarification to understand this. Phosphine is amongst the foulest smelling and toxic gasses known on Earth. It smells like a rotting fish, which is found near pond slime and penguin dropping. It is a by-product of anaerobic organisms like microbes and bacteria but can be produced via industrial processes as well.
Scientists earlier identified the presence of phosphine as one of the indicators of life on another planet, and its presence on Venus makes it a strong case.
It is also being speculated that there has to be something that is actively producing phosphine, given that clouds on Venus are so acidic that they would eliminate phosphine very quickly. Additionally, the conditions in Venus are not considered to be the most habitable for life, since the surface is hot and acidic. However, approximately 35 miles (56.3 km) high, the conditions are more viable for life, as known on planet Earth.
This is where the scientists think the phosphine is being produced from, in quantities that can’t be explained by anything other than biological presence.
Jane Greaves of Cardiff University is leading the team of researchers. Emily Drabik-Maunder, an author on the paper and an astrophysicist from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, states that some chemical or geological process produces phosphine or else there could be a biological reason behind it.
The new findings that happened by chance have been termed as genuinely exciting by the scientific community. The planet that is both acidic and extremely hot was never a pick among scientists as a potential habitat for alien life.
A technical baseline for further studies elsewhere was conducted to gauge whether phosphine could be detected in an environment like Venus. The result, however, really astounded the scientific community when a sizeable amount was seen floating in the clouds above the planet.
No matter how exciting or thrilling the findings, it is pertinent to remember how far away we are from definitive proof. This is called out as a sign of life on Venus, although more explorations are required before we know for sure. But still, the simplest explanation suggests that there is some sort of presence of life on Venus, producing the gas.