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Life on Venus?


Detection of the chemical phosphine, PH3, phosphorus with hydrogens attached to it, has happened in the atmosphere of Venus. They say it is an energetically costly molecule that can only be made by either unknown chemical processes, or bacteria. It's not very common on Earth, because it can only be made by bacteria killed by oxygen, but Venus seems a suitable place for such a life form, if the phosphine is there, and it is life making it.

"But if phosphine really is floating through the Venusian cloud deck, its presence suggests one of two intriguing possibilities: that alien life-forms are deftly linking together phosphorus and hydrogen atoms, or that some completely unanticipated chemistry is crafting phosphine in the absence of life."
Kyng likes this post
Ah yes, I heard about this Tongue . I also saw a Fraser Cain video, that provided a bit more detail:

Basically, even though Venus is incredibly hot, it's much cooler in the clouds (where the phosphine was found), so the temperature isn't a problem. It's still possible that it might be formed by some unknown chemical or geological process; however, we don't know what that would be.

Intriguing stuff nonetheless!
Guardian likes this post
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#ForzaJules 1989-2015
so I've already said this over at the coffee house so kyng knows my position on this but Life is growing increasingly more plausible... In fact it was discovered about a week or so back that the pioneer 13 probe found traces of phosphine in the areas suspected as being habitable about 40 years ago but was missed because we weren't looking for it. Primarily the lower and middle cloud decks which seems to add more credence to the theory that microbes are creating it since it's meeting all the criteria.

but we won't know 100% for sure until we send another probe there to re-check. Still more evidence than we have for life on mars, or saturn's moon titan for that matter. But I'd say it's pretty darn likely.

heh, 42, 42 years ago, 42... the answer to life the universe and everything.
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
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yes , i would have thought life was more likely on Mars than on Venus right ?
Sports fanatic
Exactly but this life isn't on the planet's surface but in it's clouds which is kinda cool.

some kind of floating microbes drifting on air currents and expelling phosphine as a byproduct of whatever it eats/breaths/etc.

for all we know it's consuming the acid in the clouds and stripping the sulfur and such.

@brian51 here's what we know about mars.

there's methane being expelled from beneath the surface in a few areas.

sub surface brine lakes near the poles.

and that it had liquid water on it's surface millenia ago, and occasionally does today when the conditions are right but only for very brief periods.

Titan has an unknown process creating atmospheric chemestry where it's too cold but might be the byproduct of life consuming the hydrocarbon lakes on it's surface.

venus is sort of the opposite in that it's too hot and acidic normally but the phosphine is collecting in far more hospitable regions in the clouds layers above the surface making for something a bit more foreign to what we're used to.
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
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While this seemed pretty plausible to me at the time, unfortunately it seems that this is not so Sad

«The data are noisy, meaning there’s a lot of random up-and-down wiggling in the spectrum plot. There are lots of ways to trying to smooth over that noise; one common way is to fit a mathematical equation to the overall spectrum (I describe this process here). In this case they used a 12th–order polynomial, which can be problematic.»
IMO the most questionable thing bolded.
well there's only one real way to get an answer though darvince.

we need to send a probe there and sample those possibly habitable layers of atmosphere.
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
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I must admit that part of the reason I found the prospect of this specifically being the life that is on Venus is because phosphine is quite toxic to us humans and most forms of life on Earth, so it felt on some level more like true alien life (even though any life on Venus would very likely descend from life right here on Earth!) as it made for itself and thrived in a toxic environment, fundamentally unable to coexist with our potential presence.
you forget, there's sulfur based life here on earth, as well as silicon, carbon, and ammonium dioxide, though carbon based is still dominant.

and then there's saturn's moon titan which has a similar conundrum going on though with benzene as the possible base.

two places with more evidence than mars and they're both inhospitible and improbable for their own reasons.
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
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