An international team of astronomers today announced the discovery of a rare molecule — phosphine — in the clouds of Venus. This detection could point to extra-terrestrial “aerial” life in the Venusian atmosphere. Watch our summary of the discovery.
An international team of astronomers announced the discovery of a rare molecule — phosphine — in the clouds of Venus.
On Earth, phosphine gas is only made industrially or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.
Astronomers have speculated for decades that high, temperate clouds on Venus could offer a home for microbes… …the detection of phosphine could point to such extra-terrestrial “aerial” life.
The team considered processes on Venus, such as volcanoes or sunlight, to explain the presence of phosphine… …but found these can make at most one ten thousandth of the amounts detected.
The discovery was made using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope… …with the more sensitive ALMA observatory, in which ESO is a partner, confirming it.
Read Astronomers Find Possible Signs of Life on Venus for more on this discovery.