Discovery of possible life on Venus

In a recent discovery, traces of a rare molecule called Phosphine have been found on the planet, Venus. The molecule is also found on earth as a byproduct of human industries or the actions of microbes that can survive in oxygen-free environments.

While the astronomers announced the development on Monday, the discovery was originally made in 2017. The possibility of extra-terrestrial life on Venus has taken the media by a frenzy. Astronomers have however not claimed that any life has been found on the planet as of yet but the observations suggest there’s a possibility.

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The dip in Venus’s JCMT spectrum provided the first hint of the presence of phosphine on the planet, while the more detailed spectrum from ALMA confirmed that this possible marker of life really is present in the Venusian atmosphere. 
(Source: The Indian Express)

Venus is the second planet from the sun with inhospitable conditions. The temperature on the planet is extremely high whereas the planet is also highly acidic in nature. However, phosphine can be produced only through biological processes and is not a naturally occurring chemical process.  

 “We know that Venus has not always been as inhospitable as it seems now. So, one of the possibilities, if we would like to explore the question of the presence of life on Venus, could be whether this phosphine is actually something remaining from a time when the planet did support life-forms. These are open questions right now. All these will be explored,” Somak Raychaudhuri, director of Pune-based Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics said.

The discovery is the most credible evidence for the possibility of extra-terrestrial life outside Earth. Subsequently, All future missions to Venus would now seek to investigate the possibility of life on the planet.

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