The recent discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus has excited researchers and space fans around the world. The reason people are so excited about the discovery is because phosphine suggests that life might be present. However, when the phosphine was first discovered, the researchers couldn’t explain how it got there.
Most of the phosphine in the Earth’s atmosphere is produced by living microbes, which means that the possibility of life on Venus cannot be ignored. However, the scientists also investigated other possible ways for phosphine in the atmosphere, including lightning, volcanoes and meteorites. Neither of these theories could produce the amount of phosphine found in the Venusian atmosphere.
The lead researcher on the project is a UK astronomer named Jane Greaves. She says her discovery is “not solid evidence of life”
Researchers say that if life had formed eons ago, it could have adapted to spread through the clouds. The researchers also believe that another way to explain the phosphine is that life in Venus’ atmosphere, assuming there is one, came from Earth. It has been documented in the past that planets exchange materials in the inner solar system. For example, when meteorites hit a planet, they can send stones from that planet into space, occasionally interacting with the orbits of other planets.
Researchers say rocks from Earth may have contained microbial life that adapted to the highly acidic clouds in the Venusian atmosphere. Microbes are known on earth that can live in highly acidic environments. Another possibility is that there is a truly alien life on Venus that can survive the searing surface temperatures of 400 degrees Celsius and is thriving there today.