Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

Why some think there might be life on Venus… and others don’t

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Remember the phosphine that was supposed to be a sign of life on Venus (because the gas can only be made by life forms?) Wait, the data isn’t so good, say others. There are pros and cons:

A pro:

In the outer solar system, phosphine is made deep in the interiors of Jupiter and Saturn. Near the giant planets’ cores, the temperatures and pressures are extreme enough to craft the molecule, which then rises through the atmosphere. But on rocky planets, where conditions are significantly less extreme, there’s no known way to make phosphine in the absence of life—it’s just too energetically demanding. In other words, if the observation of phosphine on Venus is right, something must be continually replenishing the molecule in the planet’s atmosphere.

Nadia Drake, “Possible sign of life on Venus stirs up heated debate” at National Geographic

A con:

Still, ALMA observatory scientist John Carpenter is skeptical that the phosphine observations themselves are real. The signal is faint, and the team needed to perform an extensive amount of processing to pull it from the data returned by the telescopes. That processing, he says, may have returned an artificial signal at the same frequency as phosphine. He also notes that the standard for remote molecular identification involves detecting multiple fingerprints for the same molecule, which show up at different frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum. That’s something that the team has not yet done with phosphine.

Nadia Drake, “Possible sign of life on Venus stirs up heated debate” at National Geographic

The article offers lots of interesting stuff about how life forms could possibly survive in the clouds of Venus. There are several plans in the works for probes.

See also: Claim: Possible hints of life on Venus Based on discovering phosphine in the atmosphere.

One Reply to “Why some think there might be life on Venus… and others don’t

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    This is one of the FEW areas of science where modern thinkers are more sensible and sane than 100 years ago. In the ’20s, serious astronomers believed that Martians and Venusians were basically similar to humans, with some “evolved” differences to “adapt” to thinner atmosphere or lighter gravity.

    Good example in 1924 Popular Radio, p 344 of the PDF.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=x_nNAAAAMAAJ

    Camille Flammarion was allegedly the ‘dean’ of world astronomers. If nothing else, he certainly LOOKS like a scientist!

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