NASA has many priorities on its plate. There is ongoing exploration of Mars. There is an ambitious plan to send astronauts back to the moon in 2024. Now we can add Venus to that list and possibly even move it up.
News from thehas sparked speculation . On earth, phosphine is associated with certain microbes.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine described the results in a tweet on Monday as “the most significant development to date in the construction of life outside the earth”
Pointing to NASA research on microbial life in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, Bridenstine wrote, “It’s time to prioritize Venus.”
Venus is not a completely unexplored planet. NASA, ESA, JAXA and Soviet flybys and probes were sent from the sun to the second planet.
“As with an increasing number of planetary bodies, Venus is proving to be an exciting place to discover, despite not being an integral part of the search for life due to its extreme temperatures, atmospheric composition and other factors,” NASA told a publication on Monday in which also it was stated that the space agency was not involved in this latest research.
Bridenstine’s enthusiasm still needs to be translated into actual missions before we look too excited for NASA to revisit the enigmatic planet. The agency has already considered some form of return to Venus. NASA is investigating the possibility of some missions that focus on Venus as part of its discovery program.
The new study and related questions could be reason enough to speed up a mission to take a closer look at the Venusian clouds. Is it strange life? Is there any other explanation? We need more data to make the call.