There was an assumption that there may be life on Venus
For many years, scientists have been searching for life on Mars. But who knows, maybe they're not looking there? In 2017, researchers from the US and UK began looking for signs of life on Venus, which is the second-largest planet from the Sun. Life cannot exist directly on its surface due to too harsh conditions, but in the upper atmosphere the conditions are almost the same as on Earth. After three years of careful study of the upper atmosphere of Venus, the researchers published the results of the work done. It turned out that the harsh planet has gas, called phosphine. On our planet it is also there and in large numbers stands out adapted to extreme conditions microorganisms. So maybe there are still living creatures on Venus? Let's get to the bottom of this.
One of the first people to talk about the possibility of life on Venus was the American astronomer Carl Sagan (Carl Sagan). He said that the upper atmosphere of the planet can remain quite good conditions for the life of microorganisms. But on the surface of Venus live organisms are unlikely to exist. And all because there is a 462-degree temperature, and besides, contains a large amount of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulfur. There is no water vapor and oxygen at all. But at an altitude of 50-60 kilometers conditions for the existence of living organisms are very good. At least the atmospheric pressure and temperature there are the same as on Earth.
Gas, which is usually produced by living microorganisms, has been found in the clouds of Venus
Astronomers are looking for life on other planets in a variety of ways. One of them is the search for so-called biosignatures. Almost all living organisms leave traces in the form of chemical compounds. For example, microorganisms capable of living in extreme conditions emit a large amount of gas, called phosphine. Its chemical formula consists of three hydrogen atoms and one phosphorus atom. To find signs of phosphine and other biosignatures in venus' clouds, scientists used James Maxwell telescopes and the ALMA system. The results of the work were shared by the news.
To the surprise of scientists, at an altitude of 53 to 61 kilometers from the surface, telescopes found signs of the presence of the same phosphate. The news became sensational and at the same time mysterious. The fact is that the researchers were not able to find the source of the gas. On Earth, poisonous for humans phosphine is formed not only at the expense of microbes that are able to live . Gas can also be released into the air during processes taking place inside volcanoes, when lightning strikes and so on. It could be said that on Venus phosphine is also formed due to natural phenomena. But researchers doubt that they can lead to such a large concentration of gas.
Life on Venus? The discovery of phosphine, a byproduct of anaerobic biology, is the most significant development yet in building the case for life off Earth. About 10 years ago NASA discovered microbial life at 120,000ft in Earth's upper atmosphere. It's time to prioritize Venus.
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine)
Even NASA chief Jim Bridenstine has announced the probability of life on Venus
The most likely source of gas remains the activity of microorganisms. But this version also causes some scientists great doubts. Austrian astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger agreed that the theory is interesting. However, she noted that we had not yet studied Venus and that processes unknown to us could take place. In the course of unexplored phenomena may well stand out a huge amount of phosphine, so it is too early to believe the assumption of the existence of life on Venus. Geochemist Justin Filiberto agrees with her, suggesting that Venus may be a more volcanically active planet than Earth. So volcanoes can also be the source of phosphine.
Volcanoes are not Venus in the artist's view
In addition to Carl Sagan, astrobiologist David Grinspoon also assumed the probability of life on Venus. But even this scientist doubts the existence of life on the second planet from the Sun. According to him, this news is too good to be true. But most often the answer to difficult questions is just under the nose of a person. So maybe life is hidden not far beyond the solar system, but right in it? There may have been life in Mars, too, but it's already extinct. And life on Venus may still exist.
Most likely, it is possible to identify the exact source of phosphine on Venus only within the framework of the Russian-American Venus-D mission. Only here the launch of the eponymous interplanetary station is planned for the period from 2029 to 2031, that is, scientists do not even have an exact timeline. According to Nathan, a researcher at the Institute of Space StudiesEismont, the acclaimed news may change the design of the station. In particular, at the moment there is talk of the introduction of devices in Venus-D to search for extraterrestrial life.
The Venus-D station will look something like this
Scientists are constantly looking for signs of life on other planets in projects called SETI. Recently, astronomers have tried to find signs of extraterrestrial civilizations among 10 million stars. What they've discovered is something you can find out.
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