Astronomers have found gas in the atmosphere of Venus, which is indicating the existence of life there. The possibility has been raised that there may be micro-organisms floating in the clouds of the planet Venus.
The name of that gas is phosphine – a molecule that is made up of one phosphorus particle and three hydrogen particles. Phosphine is related to life on Earth. It is associated with micro-organisms found in the stomachs of animals such as penguins or low-oxygen places such as marshes. Micro bacteria emit this gas in the absence of oxygen.
Phosphine can also be made in factories, but there are no factories on Venus, And of course, there are no penguins either. So why are this gas on Venus and that too 50 km above the planet’s surface? That is the question of Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University in Britain and her colleagues.
He has published a paper in the journal Nature Astronomy, in which he has written in detail his observations of finding phosphine on Venus. Along with this, he has written about his investigation, in which he has tried to tell that this molecule can be made from any natural, non-biological means.
Although the team of scientists has not claimed to have found life on Venus but has said that more should be explored about this possibility.
How the gas indicating life was found
Cardiff University Professor Jane Greaves and his colleagues tracked the planet Venus with the help of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii and the Atacama Large Millimeter Ari telescope located in Chile.
With this, they detected the spectral signature of phosphine. After which scientists have expressed the possibility that this gas is in very large quantities in the clouds of the planet Venus.
With all the information we have about the planet Venus and the conditions there, given the amount of phosphine found there, no one has been able to detect the abiotic medium of phosphine so far. This means that the possibility of life there can be considered.
Professor Jane Greaves said, “Throughout my career, I’ve been interested in finding life anywhere in the universe. That’s why I love to think about that possibility.”
Why is this so interesting?
The possibility of life on the neighboring planet Venus is considered less than any other planet in the solar system. Venus is called hell in the Bible.
Venus has a thick layer of the atmosphere, which is rich in carbon dioxide. The atmosphere here is 96% carbon dioxide. The atmospheric pressure on this planet is 90 times greater than on Earth. The surface temperature is over 400°C, like a pizza oven.
So if you set foot on the planet Venus, then in a few seconds you will start boiling. Therefore, even if there is life on Venus, then we can expect to meet it only 50 kilometers above.
Why is lifeless likely?
Because of the clouds. There are dense clouds, containing 75–95% sulfuric acid, which is deadly to the cellular structures that make up the living organisms on Earth. However, scientists say that if there are micro-organisms there, then they will have to make some kind of shield to avoid sulfuric acid.
Dr. William Bains of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, “We are talking about a bacteria that has made a strong shield around itself and sealed itself completely inside it. But then they eat it.” How are they? How do they do the gas exchange? It’s contradictory.”
To know the answer to the question of whether there is life on Venus or not, someone will have to be sent there. America’s space agency NASA has asked scientists to work on a plan to send a potential flagship mission in the 2030s. Flagships are the most capable and most expensive missions ever sent by NASA. In this case, it is being considered to send an instrumental balloon, which will pass through the clouds of Venus.
Team member Sarah Seger said that Russia sent its Vega balloon in 1985. Teflon was applied around it to protect it from sulfuric acid. She says, “We can go all the way there and collect the droplets and study them. Also, we can take a microscope, so that we can try to see the life there.”
Dr. Lewis Dartnell from the University of Westminster expressed hope, “If life is found in the upper clouds of Venus, it will help us to understand many things. Because it may mean that there may be life in many places in our galaxy.” If this happens, it may be possible that life does not necessarily have a planet like Earth, but it can also be found on extremely hot planets like Venus in our galaxy.