Aliens Exist? Astronomers Detect Potential Signs of Life on Venus

Aliens Exist? Astronomers Detect Potential Signs of Life on Venus”

The worldwide team, which includes researchers from Britain, the USA and Japan, published their findings in two papers - the science journal Nature on Monday, and Astrobiology journal on Saturday.

Astronomers have speculated for decades that high clouds on Venus could offer a home for microbes - floating free of the scorching surface but needing to tolerate very high acidity.

Scientists have spotted evidence of potential life on the planet Venus, though they emphasized that more work needs to be done to confirm whether or not life - possibly aerial microbes - exists or whether there is an alternative non-biological explanation for their findings. The phosphine could be just a waste product, but other scientists have suggested purposes like warding off rival bacteria.

Phosphine is one of the most foul-smelling gases known to man, with the odour of rotting fish, it is often found in penguin dung and pond slime.

"Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, so it's not the natural place to look for something like this", said Stone, adding that the second planet from the sun is the solar system's hottest, with surface temperatures of up to 400 C and an atmosphere rich in sulphuric acid.

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Venus is known to be hot and acidic, which is why the conditions on the ground would make any kind of life nearly impossible, but the environment on its upper cloud decks is reported to be habitable.

Another team-member, Dr Clara Sousa Silva from MIT, had been thinking about searching for phosphine as a "biosignature" gas of non-oxygen-using life on planets around other stars, because normal chemistry makes so little of it.

She said finding it on Venus is exciting and extraordinary.

"But life in the clouds, assuming life had been able to migrate to the clouds and live there, that life would have survived".

Top image: Image of Venus, observed in the 365nm waveband by the Venus Ultraviolet Imager (UVI) on board the Akatsuki probe.

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