Potential Signs Of Alien Life Found On Venus
Scientists have found that there's a chance alien life could live in the clouds above Venus.
The planet - which is our neighbour in the solar system - is one of the most unlikely of places due to its atmosphere being almost entirely made from carbon dioxide (CO2), which is poisonous to humans and animals.
On top of that it's very hot being the second planet closest to the Sun - with an estimated temperature of around 465 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit).
But, according to the BBC, researchers have discovered another gas which can be found 50km up from the planet's surface and one that they can't explain. It's a gas called phosphine.
This has left scientists baffled after Professor Jane Greaves and her team from Cardiff University were the first to find phosphine using a large telescope in Hawaii.
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Prof Jane Greaves says that the level of phosphine is around 20 parts per billion. Organisms could easily create this amount of phosphine, but they wanted to be really careful and rule out other potential sources of phosphine. #VenusNews
- Royal Astronomical Society (@RoyalAstroSoc) September 14, 2020
Professor Greaves said: "This was an experiment made out of pure curiosity, really - taking advantage of JCMT's [James Clerk Maxwell Telescope] powerful technology, and thinking about future instruments.
"I thought we'd just be able to rule out extreme scenarios, like the clouds being stuffed full of organisms. When we got the first hints of phosphine in Venus' spectrum, it was a shock!"
"In the end, we found that both observatories had seen the same thing - faint absorption at the right wavelength to be phosphine gas, where the molecules are backlit by the warmer clouds below," Greaves added.
We have detected a gas called "phosphine" in the atmosphere of Venus, says @jgreaves6. This could point to the presence of life in the clouds of Venus. Their study is published in the journal Nature Astronomy and will be free to access today. #VenusNews- Royal Astronomical Society (@RoyalAstroSoc) September 14, 2020
Dr Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist from the University of Westminster, added: "If life can survive in the upper cloud-decks of Venus - that's very illuminating, because it means maybe life is very common in our galaxy as a whole. Maybe life doesn't need very Earth-like planets and could survive on other, hellishly-hot, Venus-like planets across the Milky Way."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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