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Astronomers find possible sign of life on Venus

Traces of a rare molecule known as phosphine have been found in the hellish, heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus, astronomers announced Monday — providing a tantalizing clue about the possibility of life. Phosphine molecules found on Earth are primarily a result of human industry or the actions of microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.
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The planet could be home to life. What happens to it now?

On Monday morning, the world learned of an exciting discovery: a whiff of phosphine, one of the universe’s most odious substances, detected in the atmosphere of Venus. On Earth, it hangs out in some unsavory spots, such as sewage plants. But it’s also associated with life, especially with microbes living in anaerobic (oxygen-poor) environments. Could this report of phosphine on Venus also mean that life exists there?
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Signs of Life on Venus Hint at Biology Pretty Much Anywhere in the Universe

To go to Venus is to go to hell. One of the most brilliant and beautiful objects in the night sky, Venus is a near twin of Earth in size and mass but it is radically different in almost every other way. Its surface temperature averages 470º C (880º F), or hot enough to melt lead. Its atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide, with a ground-level pressure 90 times greater than that on Earth—the equivalent of being under 914 m (3,000 ft.) of water. Spacecraft that descend through the Venusian atmosphere can make much of the trip without a parachute, descending like a marble in a can of house paint.
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Maunakea telescope finds hints of life on Venus

What may be the first hints of life on Venus have been discovered by an international team of astronomers using observations from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Maunakea. The team detected the gas phosphine in Venus’ upper clouds; on Earth phosphine is excreted by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. The discovery was published in Nature Astronomy.

A Possible Sign Of Life Right Next Door To Earth, On Venus

Scientists say they've detected a gas in the clouds of Venus that, on Earth, is produced by microbial life. The researchers have racked their brains trying to understand why this toxic gas, phosphine, is there in such quantities, but they can't think of any geologic or chemical explanation. The mystery...

Possible Marker of Life Spotted on Venus

An international team of astronomers today announced the discovery of a rare molecule — phosphine — in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. 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. The detection of phosphine could point to such extra-terrestrial “aerial” life.

On Venus, mysterious traces of gas tease the possibility of extraterrestrial life

The detection of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus has surprised scientists, who are now wrestling with a big question: Could it be a sign of alien life?. New research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy detailed the recent discovery of the gas as well as its possible origins. And while the scientists behind the research aren't making any definitive conclusions just yet, extraterrestrial life is one of the few explanations that makes sense.
Planetary Society

Did Scientists Just Find Life on Venus? Here's How to Interpret the Phosphine Discovery

Biosignatures do not guarantee life, but they are a compelling argument for further exploration. In a paper released today in Nature Astronomy, Jane Greaves, astronomer at Cardiff University, and an international team of scientists announced the presence of phosphine in Venus’s atmosphere. Phosphine is considered a “biosignature”—a molecule strongly associated with the chemistry of life that has few non-life methods of production, particularly on a rocky planet like Venus. The team used two observatories—the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile—to verify their detection.

Life on Venus? Breakthrough Initiatives funds study of possible biosignature detection

Biosignature expert Sara Seager will lead the study team. The detection of a possible sign of life in Venus' clouds is just the beginning. On Monday (Sept. 14), researchers announced that they'd spotted the fingerprint of phosphine in Venus' atmosphere, at an altitude where temperatures and pressures are similar to those here on Earth at sea level.

Will NASA Choose A Venus Mission After Phosphine Discovery?

Today’s breaking news is the discovery of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus. The evidence was detected using ground-based telescopes. The question now is whether spacecraft will be sent to further investigate. NASA’s last dedicated Venus mission was launched decades ago, but two are competing for a chance in the ongoing round of Discovery missions.

See Venus swing by the crescent moon Monday morning

In the predawn morning sky on Monday (Sept. 14), a beautiful celestial sight will likely attract a lot of attention for early risers. A few hours before sunrise, low above the east-northeast horizon you'll see a slender sliver of a waning crescent moon. And located to its left you'll see a dazzling, silvery-white "star" shining with a steady glow.

MIT Scientists Find Possible Signs Of Life On Venus

In two papers published Monday, a global team of scientists — including from MIT — say they have found what may be signs of life on our neighboring planet, Venus. We speak to two of the authors: Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysicist now at Harvard University, and Janusz Petkowski, a research scientist at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT.

Venus: Will private firms win the race to the fiery planet?

With astronomers detecting a potential signature of life in the clouds of Venus, there's obviously going to be a big push to get some new space missions to the planet. We don't know if the phosphine gas recently observed by telescopes is coming from floating microbes or has a simple non-biological origin. Right now, nothing is conclusive. But the only way we're likely to find out for sure is by taking some scientific instruments there.
New Scientist

Life on Venus? Everything you need to know about the big discovery

A team of researchers has used two of the biggest telescopes on Earth to find signs of phosphine gas on Venus – a compound that is produced on our planet only by living creatures and human technological processes. We don’t know any way to make this gas non-biologically on Venus.