Scientists have revealed they have found phosphine gas produced by bacteria in the atmosphere of Earth’s closest neighbor Venus, which could be indicative of its extraterrestrial life.
“Based on what we know about Venus at the moment, the most plausible explanation is life, although it sounds fantastic,” the researchers said. If there is phosphine, there is life, and it means that we are not alone in the universe,” he said.
The study, by researchers at MIT, Cardiff and the University of Manchester, revealed phosphine gas had been detected in Venus ‘ hard acidic clouds, indicating that microbes could survive.
RESEARCH LARGELY CONFIRMS LIFE ON VENUS
Jane Greaves, lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, said the researchers were studying potential non-biological sources such as volcanism, meteorites, lightning and various types of chemical reactions, but none seemed likely. Research is therefore continuing to confirm the existence of life on Venus or to find an alternative explanation.
IT PRODUCES BACTERIA THAT GROW IN AN OXYGEN-FREE ENVIRONMENT
The researchers have yet to discover real life forms, but noted that phosphine is produced by bacteria that thrive in oxygen-free environments.
The existence of extraterrestrial life has been one of the most important questions of science throughout history. Researchers used probes and telescopes to search for “bio-signatures”and indirect life in the solar system and beyond. The discovery was made using the Atacama (ALMA) telescope array in Chile and the James Clerk Maxwell telescope in Hawaii.
“IF THERE’S PHOSPHINE, THERE’S LIFE”
Molecular astrophysicist and co-author Clara Sousa-Silva, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said: “based on what we know about Venus right now, the most plausible explanation for phosphine, although it sounds fantastic, is life. This is important because if there is phosphine, there is life, and it means that we are not alone in the universe. At the same time, life must be very common in space and there must be many other inhabited planets in our galaxy,” he said.
WHAT IS PHOSPHINE GAS?
On the other hand, it was warned that phosphine, a phosphorus atom with three hydrogen atoms added, is highly toxic to humans.
HAS A SURFACE TEMPERATURE THAT CAN MELT LEAD
Earth’s closest planetary neighbor, Venus, although similar in structure to Earth, is much smaller than it and has a thick and toxic atmosphere that traps heat. Surface temperatures on the planet can rise to 471 degrees Celsius, which is strong enough to melt lead.