Alien neighbours right next door?
Some pretty exciting news has been released surrounding our closest planetary neighbour, and grumpy earth twin, Venus. It turns out that scientists have found potential hints of life in the upper atmosphere, or it’s just really strange chemistry that we just don’t understand.
The chemical at hand is called phosphine, which is a chemical state of phosphorous. So what’s exciting about a random gas? Well, “The reason we’re so excited about this finding in this paper is that we found phosphine gas, which doesn’t belong in the Venus atmosphere,” said Canadian co-author Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It doesn’t belong on Venus because it is a by-product produced by tiny organisms that don’t require oxygen that we have here on earth. Now this gas can be produced in small amounts by other means but the amount they have found doesn’t suggest that this is the cause. Lead author Jane Greaves, a professor of astronomy at Cardiff University in the U.K. commented, “We were able to do calculations for lots of things, like volcanoes … things like meteors dumping new rocks into the atmosphere, even lightning, all these things that could be an energy boost. And we found that you were like 10,000 times short of the phosphine you’d need if you made any new reasonable assumptions for these sources.”
Now there are skeptics out there of course, and nothing has been proven. It just means we should start looking to our closest neigbour for signs of potential life!
If you’d like to read the full article that we got our information from, click here.