Astronomers have amazing news: with powerful telescopes they found possible signs of life on Venus. Traces of a rare molecule known as phosphine have been found in the hellish, heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus. The observations suggest at least the possibility of microbial activity in the upper layers of Venus’ atmosphere. “We have detected a rare gas called phosphine in the atmosphere of our neighbor planet Venus,” said Jane Greaves, a professor at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom and lead author of a report published in Nature Astronomy. On Earth, the same gas is made by microorganisms that live in oxygen-free environments. „we’re not claiming there’s life, but claiming there’s something that is really unknown and it might be life,” said team member William Bains, a researcher at MIT.
The discovery needs to be confirmed by additional telescope observations and future space missions. “We know that it is an extraordinary discovery,” said Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysicist at Harvard University. Venus is roughly the same mass as Earth. Many scientists think that Venus was once covered in water and possessed an atmosphere where life as we know it could have flourished. Today, Today, the second planet from the sun has an atmosphere stifled by carbon dioxide gas, and surface temperatures that average more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Space programs have tried dozens of robotic missions to Venus. But the planet eats metal within minutes melting down and crushing spacecraft that have landed there.