Astronomers Detect Potential Signs of Life on Venus

James Marshall
September 15, 2020

A team of astronomers believe they have found signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus, The New York Times reports. On Earth, bacteria produce phosphine.

Jane Greaves, an astronomer at Cardiff University in Wales, first detected phosphine on Venus in 2017.

The global scientific team first spotted the phosphine using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and confirmed it using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile. This detection could point to extra-terrestrial "aerial" life in the Venusian atmosphere.

An worldwide team of astronomers announced the discovery of a rare molecule - phosphine - in the clouds of Venus.

The discovery was made using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope...

Another member of the team, Massachusetts Institute of Technology molecular astrophysicist Clara Sousa Silva, has investigated phosphine as a "biosignature" gas of non-oxygen-using life on planets around other stars.

While the discovery is "not robust evidence for life" on the planet, there's now no abiotic (physical) explanation as to the presence of the gas, which means biological life can't be ruled out at this point.

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