FP TrendingSeptember 16, 2020 at 9:26:52 IST
The Royal Astronomical Society announced yesterday that a team of astronomers have found significant amounts of molecules in Venus’ atmospheric clouds. From what is known about the earth’s phosphine, the molecule can be synthesized industrially, or by bacteria that can grow in an atmosphere where oxygen is scarce or non – existent.
For decades, researchers have suspected that it could sustain microbial life in Venus’ atmosphere – in clouds higher than the planet’s burning surface, temperatures can rise as high as 450 degrees Celsius (700 degrees K). However, these microbes were thought to be resistant and hardy – especially those that tolerate high levels of sulfuric acid in Venus’ atmosphere.
The researchers said that the discovery of phosphine molecules, which are a combination of hydrogen and phosphorus molecules, points to ‘aerial’ life outside this territory.
However, the discovery does not require the presence of Venus’ life, as telescope data or data configuration may affect the results. Therefore double and triple verification of the facts is required. As David Greenspoon of the Institute of Planetary Science put it, “When someone comes up with an extraordinary observation they have never done before, you wonder if they could have done something wrong.”
The study was published in the journal September 14th Natural astronomy. Clara Soosa-Silva, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said: “I was immediately deceived, of course. I thought it was a mistake, but I wanted it not to be a mistake. ”
She was also the first to recognize phosphine as a biosignature. The study follows the discovery of the chemical by scientists in January Can be used as a biosignature gas In anoxic exoplanets. Several researchers from the same team, including Clara Susa-Silva, recently participated in a study to study the atmospheres of other planets to detect the presence of gas.
Phosphine is considered a hazardous gas because it was used as a bioavailable in the past (World War I). In addition it is used as an agricultural fumigant. But it naturally produces some anaerobic microorganisms that do not have access to oxygen. Otherwise, the gas is very difficult to produce, and the clouds on Venus must destroy the molecule, which will accumulate to the detected size.
So if gas actually exists, there are two possibilities – either there are some extraterrestrial life on Earth’s twin planets responsible for the chemical, or there is a way to expand the gas without life.