Could the surface of Venus actually support life? There are signs it could
Here we are, waiting for UFOs to sail across the sky or appear on the Moon or even Mars. But alas, we may have been overlooking one of the most promising places to harbor extraterrestrial life, yet.
Astronomers recently shared that there’s reason to believe Venus may foster life. The exciting sign of life stems from a detection of a perplexing gas in the planet’s atmosphere.
As scientists turn their gaze to Venus, the mysterious planet is the new apple of our eye. How are these scientific findings pointing toward life on Venus? What will the breakthrough discoveries mean for the future? Here’s everything we know about the signal of life observed on Venus.
Scientists were led to believe there were signs of life on Venus due to a discovery in the Venusian atmosphere. An interesting chemical called phosphine was found in the clouds, which according to them, could only exist there if something (or someone) is alive on Venus.
Phosphine was detected in Venus’s dense atmosphere by powerful telescopes. Upon thorough analysis of the findings, scientists have concluded that the chemical most likely comes from a living source.
Planetary scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson elaborated on the scientific search for otherworldly life, explaining, “There’s been a lot of buzz about phosphine as a biosignature gas for exoplanets recently. How cool to find it on Venus.”
One of the shiniest specks in the night sky, Venus burns bright at temperatures of hundreds of degrees. The planet is shrouded by clouds containing caustic sulfuric acid. The rocky surface of Venus is sculpted by high volcanic activity.
Due to these intense conditions, few have paid attention to Venus as a planet suitable for life. Instead, scientists have looked towards Mars, Europa, Enceladus, & other icy moons in our solar system. This misguided focus may have been a serious mistake, because now scientists have unearthed these exciting clues to suggest Venus could indeed be habitable.
Sarah Stewart Johnson agreed that Venus has been much too overlooked, saying, “Venus has been ignored by NASA for so long. It’s really a shame.” What a shame it is, indeed. Venus is our direct neighbor after all. We’ve been so neglectful.
Venus’s time to shine
With these extraordinary discoveries of potential life on Venus, it’s time for scientists to shift their gears and start focusing on Venus. Already a dazzling object to behold for the average star-gazer, it’s about time Venus gets more attention. Even Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA commented on the finding on Twitter, saying, “It’s time to prioritize Venus.”
Looking at Earth’s scientific exploration agenda, it’s clear that NASA has prioritized Earth’s other neighbor, Mars. Right now Mars is circled by many orbiters and prowled by many rovers. In comparison, Venus is being studied by one solitary probe – the Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki.
Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, noted that humanity wasn’t expecting Venus to give us signs. She said, “This is an astonishing and ‘out of the blue’ finding.” Looking to the future, Seager confirmed, “It will definitely fuel more research into the possibilities for life in Venus’s atmosphere.”
While we’d love to hear that all scientists are on board with the potential of life on Venus, there are some who believe there are other explanations for the presence of phosphine in the Venusian atmosphere. These scientists suggest that the gas could be a result of “unexplained atmospheric or geologic processes”.
Yet, even these scientists are in consensus with the ones that think there’s more to it – more research delving into Venus’s mysteries is a must. Explanations are in order, and we can’t wait to hear them.
Do you think there could be life on Venus? Let us know what you think in the comments below.