September 2020

Possible Signs of Life Discovered on Venus, Scientists Announce

The findings were published by astronomers in two papers in the journal 'Nature Astronomy' on Monday. Using high powered telescopes, the astronomers detected the chemical phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. They assert that the detection of phosphine on Venus could be due to "the presence of life." This is an astonishing and ‘out of the blue’ finding. It will definitely fuel more research into the possibilities for life in Venus’s atmosphere, Sara Seager, Planetary Scientist at MIT, via 'The New York Times'. Because of the harsh conditions on Venus, the planet has been ignored for decades in the search for extra-terrestrial life. It is studied by a single space probe. Venus' atmosphere is extremely dense compared to Earth. Surface temperatures can exceed 800 degrees Fahrenheit. But far from the surface, a cloud layer reveals temperatures and an atmosphere similar to the Earth. Scientists such as Carl Sagan have theorized this cloud layer could harbor microbial life. It's unknown whether the building blocks for this possible life on Venus would be DNA or something else. When looking for life elsewhere, it’s so hard to not be Earth-centric. Because we only have that one data point, Clara Sousa-Silva, Molecular Astrophysicist at Harvard, via 'The New York Times'. We know that it is an extraordinary discovery. We may not know just how extraordinary without going back to Venus, Clara Sousa-Silva, Molecular Astrophysicist at Harvard, via 'The New York Times.'