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Phosphine on Venus; unpacking the Venusian discovery

14 Sep 2020, 20:13 UTC
Phosphine on Venus; unpacking the Venusian discovery
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Let’s get the biggest point out of the way first: No, scientists did not announce proof of life on another planet.
What they did find, however, is tantalizing in its potential meaning – though a great deal of work remains to rule out the possibility that other, unknown processes could be creating the phosphine signature detected in Venus’ atmosphere by a team of international researchers using ground-based telescopes on Earth.
In short, it all comes down to the detection of phosphine in a temperate cloud layer of the Venusian atmosphere.
Read the paper HERE.
The phosphine signature, confirmed via independent observations from two telescopes on Earth, is certainly intriguing because the only natural way we know of for phosphine to form on terrestrial planets is as a byproduct of life.
The trick here is that we don’t actually know what specific lifeform it is on Earth that produces the phosphine found in our swamps and marshes. It is believed to be microbiotic, potentially E. coli. But even with in situ research literally in the environment where phosphine is being created naturally on Earth, we still don’t know what causes it.
And that largely complicates the nature of the ...

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