The search for extraterrestrial life has largely focused on Mars, but scientists at MIT, Cardiff University, and elsewhere reported surprising findings in September of what may be signs of life in the clouds of Venus. Decades later, Jane Greaves, an astronomer at Cardiff University, directed a telescope at our next-door neighbor. Is there life on Venus? 6 talking about this. The team spent a year recreating the Venusian environment in computer simulations to test different explanations for the phosphine’s source and abundance. It is hardly a place that makes visiting or research easy, although that doesn’t mean people haven’t tried. However, the thick atmosphere forms a blanket around the planet and means that the day and night temperature are the same, around 460 degrees Celsius – hot enough to melt lead. The team needed a more powerful telescope, and the scientists next used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, in Chile, in March 2019. The possibility of life on Venus is a subject of interest in astrobiology due to its proximity and similarities to Earth.To date, no definitive proof has been found of past or present life on Venus.Theories have decreased significantly since the early 1960s, when spacecraft began studying the planet and it became clear that its environment is extreme compared to Earth's. If the discovery is confirmed by additional telescope observations and future space missions, it could turn the gaze of scientists toward one of the brightest objects in the night sky. But living things could emit enough of the gas. “Because we only have that one data point.”. One group revisited telescope observations of Venus’s atmosphere from several years ago and determined that they showed no evidence of the phosphine that Greaves and her team said they’d found in the cloud tops. Some researchers question this hypothesis, and they suggest instead that the gas could result from unexplained atmospheric or geologic processes on a planet that remains mysterious. By Shannon Stirone, Kenneth Chang and Dennis Overbye. Astronomy is full of disagreements like this one, but these squiggles provide the basis for nearly everything we know about the planets, stars, and galaxies beyond our own. Venus, named after the Roman goddess of beauty, roasts at temperatures of hundreds of degrees and is cloaked by clouds that contain droplets of corrosive sulfuric acid. Such living things would have had to evolve to survive in a high-acid environment, perhaps with protective outer layers similar to microscopic organisms in Earth’s most extreme environments. A lethal technological move At least not yet. “We know that extremophiles on Earth can exist in acidic environment, but that acidic environment might only be 5 per cent, and it’s still very much water based. Scientists don’t usually work with raw data, relying instead on telescope staff to provide them with carefully refined information. Other scientists have raised doubts about the research. India’s space agency has proposed a mission, in the coming years, as has a private rocket company, Rocket Lab. The planet is currently too close to the sun for telescopes to study it without frying themselves, particularly the kinds of instruments that scientists want to use to investigate the mystery further. Recorded in secret before the … “I wasn’t really expecting that we’d detect anything,” Greaves told me in September. Less than one billion years ago, the climate dramatically changed due to a runaway greenhouse effect. Venus, roughly the same size as Earth, is often called our sister planet. “It’s not true that if there’s no phosphine on Venus, there shouldn’t be life.”. Experts from the UK, however, found signs of phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere — suggesting the planet must support unknown chemical processes, or even life. The Pioneer Venus Multiprobe before NASA launched it in 1978. Grinspoon has written about the possibility of life on Venus since the 1990s, but was not involved in the latest research. Life on Venus? But it’s good science at work. Posted on December 19, 2020 by tonyheller The World Economic Forum has discovered life on Venus! (They still disagree about whether methane on Mars is a sign of life.) But we don't see intelligent life scattered about the universe. Published 14 Sep 2020, 16:48 BST, Updated 5 Nov 2020, 04:57 GMT. Volcanic activity and lightning on Venus would not be sufficient to add more of this constantly disappearing phosphine, according to the researchers’ models. On the TV show “Breaking Bad,” the main character, Walter White, makes it to kill two rivals. As to how these microbes got there, the best guess, she said, is that they originated on the surface when Venus had oceans as late as 700 million years ago, but they were forced into the skies when the planet dried up. “We disagree on how much signal there is in different places, and then we disagree on who is making that signal as strong as it is, and how. On Earth, this gas signifies life. “There’s not a lot of understanding of where it’s coming from, how it forms, things like that,” said Matthew Pasek, a geoscientist at the University of South Florida in Tampa. When Greaves and her colleagues examined their sets of squiggly lines, they saw a distinct dip, a sign of a molecule absorbing a particular wavelength of light. “Remember, this is a scientific session, and we will have different viewpoints,” said Sushil Atreya, a climate and space sciences professor at the University of Michigan and one of the conference’s organizers. a planetary scientist and head of the Johnson Biosignatures Lab at Georgetown University, the oxygen-rich environment that later developed, Mars is currently ringed by orbiters and prowled by NASA rovers, declined to fund a number of Venus missions. Not finding life on Venus would be disappointing. The second-closest planet to the Sun, Venus is inhospitable — with a surface temperature around 867°F (464°C) and pressure 92 times that of on the Earth. The announcement in September took … It's believed to have had oceans billions of years ago. “The light is constantly breaking the phosphine down, so you have to continuously replenish it,” said William Bains, a biochemist at M.I.T. The controversial part of this discovery was supposed to be the suggestion that life could exist in Venus’s clouds. Bottom line: On September 14, 2020, Venus was added to the list of potentially habitable worlds in the solar system. If phosphene is a sign of life on Venus, it’s entirely possible it is simply only one form of life. While dozens of missions were launched to Venus in the past, it is only being explored by one Japanese spacecraft now. The original team has revised its findings. For now, the best views are from Earth. Unfortunately for them, Venus is oblivious to the kvetching unfolding a planet away and has since moved along. This time, they found, all signs pointed to phosphine, and a lot of it, ranging from 5 to 20 parts per billion. Whereas frigid Mars is currently ringed by orbiters and prowled by NASA rovers, Venus is being studied by only one probe, the lonely Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki. Duration: 06:34 More clips from The Sky at Night. There was life here then, even an entire biosphere that did not survive in the oxygen-rich environment that later developed. While Venus is similar to Earth in size, … To a nonscientific observer, the question might seem straightforward enough. The immense heat and pressures can jam the phosphorus and hydrogen atoms together to form the molecule. In their own paper, he noted, the researchers wrote that “the detection of phosphine is not robust evidence for life, only for anomalous and unexplained chemistry.”, A similar note of caution was voiced by James Kasting, a geoscientist and expert on planetary habitability at Pennsylvania State University, who said, “The model atmospheric composition that they show is, at best, incomplete.”. Dr. Sousa-Silva, Dr. Greaves and their colleagues had planned to complete additional telescope observations earlier this year. Scientists have designed and proposed new missions to the planet, but their journeys are years away. It’s really a shame.”, David Grinspoon of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz., who was not part of the work but has long promoted the possibility of life in Venus’s clouds, said, “That is pretty damn exciting!”, The work needs to be followed up, he said, “but this could be the first observation we’ve made which reveals an alien biosphere and, what do you know, it’s on the closest planet to home in the entire cosmos.”, Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, responded to the finding on Twitter, saying, “It’s time to prioritize Venus.”. Sister planet I said before, phosphene is produced by geological processes the chemical ’ s source imprinted! 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