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“In the end, we found that both observatories had seen the same thing — faint absorption at the right wavelength to be phosphine gas, where the molecules are backlit by the warmer clouds below,” adds Greaves, who led the study published today in Nature Astronomy. For long, scientists have focused on Mars and traces of water on it as the most likely planet to have a life form on it. Recently, Sousa-Silva and some of the researchers on this discovery presented phosphine as a possible biosignature because of … Phosphine also arises non-biologically in certain industrial settings. Also at Paranal ESO will host and operate the Cherenkov Telescope Array South, the world’s largest and most sensitive gamma-ray observatory. Phosphine - a phosphorus atom with three hydrogen atoms attached - is highly toxic to people. (NASA/File Photo) Scientists said on Monday they have detected in the harshly acidic clouds of Venus a gas called phosphine that indicates microbes may inhabit Earth’s inhospitable neighbour, a tantalizing sign of potential life beyond Earth. Phosphine is a compound made from phosphorus and hydrogen, and on Earth its only natural source is tiny microbes that live in oxygen-free environments. However, life, as an explanation for the discovery should be the last resort, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology molecular astrophysicist and study co-author Clara Sousa-Silva. Copyright © 1998 - 2020 SciTechDaily. The observed quantity of Phosphine on Venus could not be produced by any natural processes, hinting at the existence of alien life … Confirming the existence of life on Venus’s atmosphere would be a major breakthrough for astrobiology; thus, it is essential to follow-up on this exciting result with theoretical and observational studies to exclude the possibility that phosphine on rocky planets may also have a chemical origin different than on Earth.”. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). In fact, some scientists reportedly believe that this could be more important than finding water traces on Mars. Just because Venus was named after a woman and Mars was named after a man, doesn’t mean there’s anything going on. Traces of a rare molecule known as phosphine have been found in the hellish, heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus, astronomers announced Monday — providing a … More observations of Venus and of rocky planets outside our Solar System, including with ESO’s forthcoming Extremely Large Telescope, may help gather clues on how phosphine can originate on them and contribute to the search for signs of life beyond Earth. On Earth, phosphine is produced by bacteria thriving in oxygen-starved environments. However, none have been successful per say. While the discovery of phosphine in Venus’s clouds came as a surprise, the researchers are confident in their detection. The researchers examined potential non-biological sources such as volcanism, meteorites, lightning and various types of chemical reactions, but none appeared viable. Microbial life? The detection is not proof of Venus life… Credit: ESO. Currently, the Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki is the only one monitoring the planet. On Earth, phosphine—a toxic gas—is produced by microorganisms. Astronomers have speculated for decades that high clouds on Venus could offer a home for microbes — floating free of the scorching surface but needing to tolerate very high acidity. With our current knowledge of phosphine, and Venus, and geochemistry, we cannot explain the presence of phosphine in the clouds of Venus. Scientists are trying to parse out whether a possible sign of life seen in Venus' clouds is truly there. This artistic impression depicts our Solar System neighbour Venus, where scientists have confirmed the detection of phosphine molecules, a representation of which is shown in the inset. Read our COVID-19 research and news. To top that hubris off by then extrapolating the argument from ignorance fallacy to another planet you know practically zilch about is simply breathtaking in its foolhardy arrogance. It might just be how they communicate. When observing the planet in the millimeter wavelength range, astronomers can pick up this phosphine absorption signature in their data, as … Credits: Image: ESO (European Southern Observatory)/M. By … Despite the aforementioned hostile conditions on Venus, human beings have tried to send up spacecrafts to explore the planet. After detailed and thorough study, the scientists have not been able to determine the source of the gas. Captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, this intimate…. Apparently, Venus destroys any metal that lands on its surfaces, including spacecraft. “Get over it and move on”. Now lets use that same logic on your position: if you contract an embryo due to your own action (sex without protection such as a condom) are you obligated to allow that parasite to fulfill that portion of its life cycle inside of you (at your expense) or do you have the right to security of your person against unwanted intrusion and therefore the right to choose to remove it? If provided, your email will not be published or shared. These include sewage plants, swamps, rice fields, marshlands, lake sediments and the excrements and intestinal tracts of many animals. It has been the year of pandemics, wildfires, asteroids zooming past Earth and now, aliens. The gas has been detected in the highly toxic atmosphere of Venus, as reported by New York Times. “The reason phosphine is special is, without life it is very difficult to make phosphine on rocky planets. “This is the holy grain” (I assume you meant “grail” but hey, you argue other nonsense so I could be wrong) “of evolution and all the evidence points to the fact that it is not only impossible, it is ridiculously impossible”. Signs of phosphine on Venus can’t be easily explained without life. ), but claiming something is clearly impossible without even bothering to test it is foolish at best. Earth bacteria are known to make phosphine: they take up phosphate from minerals or biological material, add hydrogen, and ultimately expel phosphine. In September, scientists reported that Venus’ atmosphere seems to be laced with phosphine, a possible sign of life. If it is life that is releasing phosphine, then researchers will have to find out more about it. On Earth, some microbes can cope with up to about 5% of acid in their environment — but the clouds of Venus are almost entirely made of acid.”, This artistic representation shows a real image of Venus, taken with ALMA, in which ESO is a partner, with two superimposed spectra taken with ALMA (in white) and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT; in grey). Argument from ignorance fallacy. Absent of life, the production of phosphine requires great temperatures and pressures, and typically a source of hydrogen to react with. Phosphine is widely accepted as being a "promising sign of life", when found in a rocky planet's atmosphere. Phosphine produces a toxic effect on the organism's utilization of oxygen. In short, the team of scientists, from the UK, US and Japan, have not found life form on Venus. Evidence indicates phosphine, a gas associated with living organisms, is present in the habitable region of Venus ’ atmosphere. Watch our summary of the discovery. The presence of phosphine raises the remarkable possibility that there is something unusual going on in the planet’s atmosphere. Here's what we know thus far about the stunning finding. On Monday, a team of scientists announced its members had detected phosphine gas in … The team is composed of Jane S. Greaves (School of Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University, UK [Cardiff]), Anita M. S. Richards (Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, The University of Manchester, UK), William Bains (Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA [MIT]), Paul Rimmer (Department of Earth Sciences and Cavendish Astrophysics, University of Cambridge and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK), Hideo Sagawa (Department of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Science, Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan), David L. Clements (Department of Physics, Imperial College London, UK [Imperial]), Sara Seager (MIT), Janusz J. Petkowski (MIT), Clara Sousa-Silva (MIT), Sukrit Ranjan (MIT), Emily Drabek-Maunder (Cardiff and Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, UK), Helen J. Fraser (School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK), Annabel Cartwright (Cardiff), Ingo Mueller-Wodarg (Imperial), Zhuchang Zhan (MIT), Per Friberg (EAO/JCMT), Iain Coulson (EAO/JCMT), E’lisa Lee (EAO/JCMT) and Jim Hoge (EAO/JCMT). At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope and its world-leading Very Large Telescope Interferometer as well as two survey telescopes, VISTA working in the infrared and the visible-light VLT Survey Telescope. Gaseous signs of life on Venus aren't seen in follow-up observations Other researchers aren't finding phosphine, a sign of anaerobic life, in subsequent studies By Matthew Rozsa “Phosphine as a Biosignature Gas in Exoplanet Atmospheres” by Clara Sousa-Silva, Sara Seager, Sukrit Ranjan, Janusz Jurand Petkowski, Zhuchang Zhan, Renyu Hu and William Bains, 22 November 2019, Astrobiology. Clara Sousa-Silva focused on phosphine because relatively little was known about the compound. In a study published in Nature Astronomy, the researchers have reported traces of phosphine in small concentration on Venus - of around 20 parts per billion, which is much more than what can be expected. Plus, it takes a lot of energy to make phosphine, and life is a particularly energetic source. Credit: ESO/M. Potential Signs of Life Detected on the Inhospitable Planet, Also Read: '2020 Series Finale': Venus May Have Alien Life and Humans Already Want to Migrate. Photograph: Greta Rybus The research continues to either confirm the presence of life or find an alternative explanation. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Greaves et al. If not, it will give a better understanding of the planet and the complex chemistry it possesses. Phosphine is PH3 It stinks of fish or possibly garlic or maybe garlicky fish, it is toxic, flammable and explosive mixed with oxygen. An international team of astronomers recently announced the discovery of a rare molecule — phosphine — in the clouds of Venus. The threshold limit value has been set at 0.42 mg m −3 by most countries for the 8-h workday. No images of alien life form have been captured, nor have the scientists been able to bring back specimens of microbes to examine them. The dip in Venus’s JCMT spectrum provided the first hint of the presence of phosphine on the planet, while the more detailed spectrum from ALMA confirmed that this possible marker of life really is present in the Venusian atmosphere. Kornmesser/L. “Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus” by Jane S. Greaves, Anita M. S. Richards, William Bains, Paul B. Rimmer, Hideo Sagawa, David L. Clements, Sara Seager, Janusz J. Petkowski, Clara Sousa-Silva, Sukrit Ranjan, Emily Drabek-Maunder, Helen J. Fraser, Annabel Cartwright, Ingo Mueller-Wodarg, Zhuchang Zhan, Per Friberg, Iain Coulson, E’lisa Lee and Jim Hoge, 14 September 2020, Nature Astronomy. Following their observations, they ran calculations to see whether these amounts could come from natural non-biological processes on the planet. The presence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus is something that was not expected and is "unexplained. On Earth, the production of phosphine is associated with anaerobic life, which does not need oxygen to survive. A parallel would be tapeworms: if you contract tapeworms through your own action (eating without protection such as proper cooking), are you obligated to allow that parasite to fulfill that portion of its life cycle inside of you (at your expense) or do you have the right to security of your person against unwanted intrusion and therefore to choose to remove it? It also means that life itself must be very common, and there must be many other inhabited planets throughout our galaxy.” The abstract of the study published in the journal mentions clearly that the presence of phosphine on Venus is unexplained. Very important difference. I’ll attempt to clarify: the pro choice spectrum does not claim an embryo is not alive, we state it is not capable of surviving on its own. Also Read: Aliens on Venus? 2 If live was by intelligent design there may be a possibility, but a living organism cannot come into existence with out design and engineering. Once reports of alien life on Venus began doing the rounds on social media, several pointed out that it was now time to prioritise Venus over other planets like Mars. Again, argument from ignorance fallacy, plus an assertion without evidence (an assertion that is also clearly against every single piece of evidence there is; I refer you to the works of Charles Darwin, Lawrence Krause, and Richard Dawkins), topped with a healthy dose of hyperbole. ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. 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It’s hitherto unknown to science, someone’s letting off gas giants. By European Southern Observatory Rather than a real feature on the planet, the patchiness of the disc may be due to the response of the interferometer to the very bright emission from Venus, which makes it hard to sample the largest scales accurately. Why it matters: The announcement that researchers may have spotted a signal of the gas phosphine in Venus' atmosphere was met with excitement by the public and scientists alike, heralded as a possible sign that microbes could live in the planet's clouds. The molecular makeup of a planet’s atmosphere normally depends on what its parent star is made of, the planet’s position in its star’s system, and the chemical and geological processes that take place given these conditions. The molecules were detected in the Venusian high clouds in data from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, in which ESO is a partner.Astronomers have speculated for decades that life could exist in Venus’s high clouds. Absent of life, the production of phosphine requires great temperatures and pressures, and typically a source of hydrogen to react with. The molecules were detected in the Venusian high clouds in data from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, in which ESO is a partner. Potential Signs of Life Detected on the Inhospitable Planet, '2020 Series Finale': Venus May Have Alien Life and Humans Already Want to Migrate, Kareena Kapoor Khan Shares Sharmila Tagore's Throwback Pic on Her Birthday, Desis are Imagining Mysterious Monolith Popping up in India and the Results are On-point, Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 e-Learning Edition Review: Valiantly Proves Core i3 Laptops Need Not Be Irritating, Ravi Dubey and Sargun Mehta Celebrate 7th Wedding Anniversary with Romantic Pictures, WWE: Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins Announce Birth of First Child in Instagram Photo, Bharat Band Protest: Farmers Launch Nationwide Strike Over New Laws, Hina Khan Shares Alluring Pictures From Her Maldives Vacation. Writing in Nature Astronomy, the team stressed the presence of phosphine did not prove the presence of life on Venus. Astronomers May Have Found a Signature of Life on Venus Evidence indicates phosphine, a gas associated with living organisms, is present in the habitable region of Venus’ atmosphere. This summer, before the phosphine announcement, she and her co-authors published a speculative, hypothetical sketch of what life on Venus could look … This is the holy grain of evolution and all the evidence points to the fact that it is not only impossible, it is ridiculously impossible. However, Nature Astronomy strongly underlined that the discovery of phosphine on Venus is not enough evidence to confirm that there is life on Earth's twin planet. & JCMT (East Asian Observatory). When observing the planet in the millimeter wavelength range, astronomers can pick up this phosphine absorption signature in their data, as a dip in the light from the planet. This artistic illustration depicts the Venusian surface and atmosphere, as well as phosphine molecules. The scientists who made big waves in September for their study about the presence of possible markers of life on Venus have adjusted their findings, revealing much fainter traces of phosphine … “When we got the first hints of phosphine in Venus’s spectrum, it was a shock!” says team leader Jane Greaves of Cardiff University in the UK, who first spotted signs of phosphine in observations from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), operated by the East Asian Observatory, in Hawaii. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2244 Evolution? “So we can literally go and check.”, Does Phosphine Mean Alien Life on Venus? It is a colourless but smelly gas which is usually produced when microbes, like bacteria, survive in the absence of oxygen. That said, any life in such a scorching hot and acidic atmosphere is unlikely to resemble much life we have on Earth. We can’t go to Venus. “Something must be creating the phosphine on Venus as fast as it is being destroyed,” said study co-author Anita Richards, an astrophysicist associated with the University of Manchester in England. So, has life been discovered on Venus? It is considered as a marker for life. According to him, this will prompt more scientists to find out what exactly is going on on Venus. Reuters adds that its surface and atmosphere are rich in oxygen compounds that would rapidly react with and destroy phosphine. “That’s the truth. "This is an astonishing and ‘out of the blue’ finding,” says Prof. Sara Seager. The team believes their discovery is significant because they can rule out many alternative ways to make phosphine, but they acknowledge that confirming the presence of “life” needs a lot more work. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2018.1954, The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. The discovery of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus could possibly indicate signs of life on the planet, scientists have said. Whoever would have thought the first sign of life would be a smell???? Scientists studying the atmosphere of Venus say they've seen a chemical called phosphine, which on Earth is only produced by microbes and humans. Why it matters: The announcement that researchers may have spotted a signal of the gas phosphine in Venus' atmosphere was met with excitement by the public and scientists alike, heralded as a possible sign that microbes could live in the planet's clouds. The detected presence of phosphine on Venus does convey the possibility of life there. Keep up with the latest scitech news via email or social media. Similar in structure but slightly smaller than Earth, it is the second planet from the sun. An international team of astronomers has detected phosphine on Venus, potentially signaling signs of life in the planet’s atmosphere, reports Shannon Stirone, Kenneth Chang and Dennis Overbye for The New York Times. Would it include depression? But the team doesn’t think Venus can provide all three. The international team, which includes researchers from the UK, US, and Japan, estimates that phosphine exists in Venus’s clouds at a small concentration, only about twenty molecules in every billion. I have been reading abut how it is produced by bacteria and such but on Wikipedia I have also found out that such gas is present in Jupiter's atmosphere. Another team member, Clara Sousa Silva of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, has investigated phosphine as a “biosignature” gas of non-oxygen-using life on planets around other stars, because normal chemistry makes so little of it. To create the observed quantity of phosphine (which consists of hydrogen and phosphorus) on Venus, terrestrial organisms would only need to work at about 10% of their maximum productivity, according to the team. It’s too early to say whether phosphine is also a sign of life on Venus – but no other explanation so far proposed seems to fit. It was one of those “big, if true” stories. Here's a chronology of missions to Venus, starting from 1961. Additional funding support is provided by the STFC and participating universities in the UK and Canada. Even there, the atmosphere is teeming with sulphuric acid vapour which makes it extremely hostile, thereby reducing the chance of finding life forms. This research was presented in the paper “Phosphine Gas in the Cloud Decks of Venus” published in Nature Astronomy. Nothing about 2020 surprises us anymore. The Indian Express reports that this groundbreaking discovery was apparently made in 2017, but the scientists chose dig deeper and confirm before going public with it this year. Some ideas included sunlight, minerals blown upwards from the surface, volcanoes, or lightning, but none of these could make anywhere near enough of it. Amazing to me that this could be a sign of life yet dividing cells in a human are not and abortion is ok because its not life. All Rights Reserved. On Earth, phosphine is produced by certain types of bacteria. Weird how their god that turned loaves and fishes into a meal for thousands is such a terrible budgeter). 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The JCMT is operated by the East Asian Observatory on behalf of NAOJ; ASIAA; KASI; CAMS as well as the National Key R&D Program of China. Traces of phosphine in Earth's atmosphere are directly linked to … The presence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus is something that was not expected and is "unexplained. The planet has massive concentrations of carbon dioxide and the thick atmosphere of the planet exerts a pressure of 1,300 pounds per square inch on whatever is present on the surface. For more on this discovery on SciTechDaily, see: More information Life on Venus announcement: The discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus has triggered excitement as a possible sign of life on that planet. Venus is Earth’s closest planetary neighbour. A sign of life? It may not mean there's life on another world, but it's the closest we've come to confirmation. You misunderstand, probably because coherent thought isn’t a strength for you. 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Discovery without the need for a long time if life could exist in Sulphuric!
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