Alien life has been “detected” on Venus as scientists have discovered a rare molecule in the planet’s clouds, which suggests that colonies of living microbes could be present in Venus’ atmosphere.
While the surface of Venus is too hot to sustain life, astronomers are now speculating that life could still survive high up in the planet’s atmosphere, where conditions are far more moderate.
An International team of astronomers, led by Professor Jane Greaves at Cardiff University, have announced that phosphine gas has been discovered in the planet’s clouds – a molecule which is produced by microbes on Earth that live in a similar environment.
Professor Greaves said: “This was an experiment made out of pure curiosity, really – taking advantage of the JCMT’s powerful technology. I thought we’d just be able to rule out extreme scenarios, like the clouds being stuffed full of organisms. When we got the first hints of phosphine in Venus’ spectrum, it was a shock!”
The new discovery gives a potential explanation for the mysterious dark streaks present on the surface of Venus, which were previously detected by the Japanese space agency JAXA. The streaks could be explained as the colonies of microbes.
Speaking about the new discovery, Professor Emma Bunce, president of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: “A key question in science is whether life exists beyond Earth, and the discovery by Professor Jane Greaves and her team is a key step forward in that quest.”