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So, astronomers *may* have found evidence of life on Venus

14 Sep 2020, 15:00 UTC
So, astronomers *may* have found evidence of life on Venus
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A team of astronomers has announced that they have found what may be evidence of life on Venus.

Or to be more accurate, above it: In the thick cloud layer that perpetually covers the planet.

To be clear, they didn't see aliens flying through the air there or anything like that. What they did find was a chemical called phosphine, which, by all accounts, shouldn't exist in the atmosphere of Venus at the levels they detect. On Earth, phosphine is either made industrially, or by microbes.

Venus, as far as we know, doesn't have a burgeoning industrial economy, so...

… well, let's not jump to conclusions. The scientists involved certainly haven't. They're careful to say that what they've found is consistent with the presence of life in the Venusian atmosphere, but they don't come right out and state that it is the product of bacterial belches. Which is prudent; it may yet be from some as-yet-unknown non-biological chemistry going on there.

I would categorize this discovery as cautiously interesting.

One way to look for life on other worlds is to seek out biomarkers, chemicals that are produced by life. Free oxygen is a good one, because it's indeed produced by ...

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