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Race to Venus: How We’ll Verify Phosphine

16 Sep 2020, 13:12 UTC
Race to Venus: How We’ll Verify Phosphine ESA-ESTEC CDF Phase 0 study 2018 / VR2 Planets (François Civet) / CC BY-SA 4.0

The detection of phosphine on Venus demands confirmation on two levels. Chemistry labs across the globe are already investigating possible inorganic production routes, to see if anything besides life could account for the molecule’s presence in the atmosphere. The observation itself also requires independent verification. But there are considerable challenges to detecting phosphine’s other chemical fingerprints here on Earth.

The solution may come from space.

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