Image: ESO (European Space Organization)/M. Kornmesser & NASA/JPL/Caltech

Life on Earth’s twin Venus? Astronomers find potential sign

Scientists observe that phosphine, a gas connected with living organisms, is present in the atmosphere of Venus

MIT scientists have come up with some intriguing observations regarding life beyond Earth. It is not Mars. And Earth’s twin planet Venus is in the limelight now. Scientists at MIT, Cardiff University, and elsewhere find potential sign of life on Venus.

Venus, a terrestrial planet, is often called Earth’s “sister planet” as the neigbouring planets are similar in size, mass, and proximity to the Sun, and indeed of the bulk composition

The scientists have detected that the atmosphere of Venus has a spectral fingerprint of phosphine, a gas associated with living organisms. The new discovery is published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The team, led by Jane Greaves of Cardiff University, detected in Venus’ atmospherea light-based signature of phosphine.

According to a report by MIT, their scientists have previously shown that if this poisonous gas was ever detected on a rocky, terrestrial planet, it could only be produced by a living organism there.

The detection happened through the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii, and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile.

The MIT team made a thorough analysis about the possibilities of the production of phosphine in Venus’ clouds. They have come up with the conclusion that there is no explanation for the detection of phosphine in Venus other than the presence of life.

As noted by Clara Sousa-Silva, research scientist at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), it is very hard to prove a negative regarding the condition. As scientists will definitely work on to justify phosphine without life, chances are less to contradict it based on the evidences so far.

Here is what co-author and EAPS Research Scientist Janusz Petkowski said on it in MIT News, “Either this is life, or it’s some sort of physical or chemical process that we do not expect to happen on rocky planets.

Venus, a terrestrial planet, is often called Earth’s “sister planet” as the neigbouring planets are similar in size, mass, and proximity to the Sun, and indeed of the bulk composition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *