Life on Venus — you probably heard of the words once in a blue moon. Or probably gave it a thought while staring at the clear night sky and thinking of Venus and its extraterrestrial life. For decades we have been doing speculations about life on Mars, Moon, or other exoplanets out there. However, they largely overlooked the morning star of poetry, Venus, in the search for alien life.
However, the rapid development of science and NextGen telescopes, Venus is not just a toxic cloud-capped mystery anymore. The odds of finding an alien with three fingers, like in movies, are very low on the surface of Venus. If that’s what you believe too, think again. The recent discovery will force you to think beyond the conventional form of life.
Venus Has Toxic Clouds
Venus is close to the sun and has clouds that are full of highly toxic sulfuric acid. The cloud layer has made the planet’s surface almost invisible from outer space, with an extreme temperature that can go up to 867° F, enough to melt any metallic object. But even in this extreme atmosphere, astronomers have discovered evidence of what might be life.
The Presence Of Phosphine
One of the brightest objects in the night sky has long been under the radar of space scientists for the possible finding of its extraterrestrial life. According to the reports of a group of astronomers, found phosphine. This discovery points to the possibility of sustaining life despite the extreme conditions of this planet. The out-of-the-box finding is creating a buzz among scientists. Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysicist at Harvard University, went on record to call it “an extraordinary discovery.”
Shrouded With Cloud Of Mystery
The rocky, furnace-like surface of Venus, coupled with glowing clouds of sulphuric acid, has kept the planet under the curtain of mystery where the chances of fostering the origin and evolution of life were slimmer. That’s why the biosphere has long been alien to the astronomers, and we know very little so far. Today, the second planet from the sun, roughly the same mass as Earth, is the center of all the hype.
However, counter-arguments are there, as Dr. Soussa Silva suggests that phosphine could be a result of immense heat and pressures. All of this could be from jamming the phosphorus and hydrogen atoms together. But then again, is there enough energy to produce ample amounts of phosphine in the same way? It might be anaerobic life or microbial organisms that could be the possible phosphine source, enduring the toxic atmosphere without oxygen.
Venus Had Oceans
Even if we don’t rule out the non-biological origin, phosphine’s continuous resource makes the scientists ponder about the living things capable of emitting enough gas. Talking about the structure of life in the acid cloud of Venus, scientist Dr. Seager and her colleagues suggest that the microbes or other living things out there, need to evolve to a great extent to sustain in the extreme condition of the planet. They might have originated from water. Venus had gigantic oceans 700 million years ago. However, they dried out over the years and these microbes had to abandon the surface to force into the skies. The exact biological structure of the form of life is hard to predict as it could be entirely different from Earth-centric DNA based form.
The Search Is On
Dr. Greaves, one of the leading scientists involved in the research, has revealed that they need to perform additional telescopic observation and analyze more data to conclude this astonishing finding. However, there is a lot of work in progress including the recreation of the Venusian environment in computer simulations.
And the discovery of the phosphine is just a steppingstone of this. The team found the chemical when they least expected to find it. With a pressure similar to that at ground level on Earth and clouds of different characteristics, it’s not easy to hypothesize the idea of life on it.
Whether the exploration turns out to be a major success or failure — Venus would be a significant part of finding life beyond earth in the future. The planet, which NASA has long ignored, will now be an exciting place of discovery for sure.