Scientists discover sign of alien life 'phosphine gas' in Venus atmosphere

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ALIEN life could be producing an Earth-like gas on Venus, our closest space neighbour.

The scorching "hell planet" would instantly kill a human, with surface temperatures reaching 470C – and pressure so high you'd be crushed alive.

But scientists think the "temperate" upper cloud layer on Venus could play host to some forms of life.

Supporting that theory is a team of British scientists who have discovered phosphine gas in Venus' atmosphere.

Here on Earth, phosphine is made by the breakdown of organic matter – and the same could be true for Venus.

Now scientists will need to send a probe to Venus to confirm the existence of alien life.

Phosphine can turn up on a planet in many different ways.

It can be created in the atmosphere, on the surface, or below the surface. And it can even be delivered from another planet.

On Venus, the phosphine was detected around 60km above the surface – in the cloudy atmosphere.

And scientists say it's unclear how this could happen without help from alien life.

Sadly, there's no 100% guarantee that life is hiding away on Venus – yet.

"We emphasise that the detection of phosphine is not robust evidence for life," said Professor Jane Greaves, of Cardiff University, who led the team that made the discovery.

"However, we have ruled out many chemical routes to phosphine, with the most likely ones falling short by four to eight orders of magnitude."

Phosphine is widely accepted as being a "promising sign of life", when found in a rocky planet's atmosphere.

Traces of phosphine in Earth's atmosphere are directly linked to human and microbial activity.

And it's found on other planets too.

On the giant gas planets in our Solar System, phosphine is produced at deep atmospheric layers – and is then dredged upwards by convection.

But on rocky planets like Venus, the solid surface should act as a barrier – preventing this mechanism.

Read more
Sign of LIFE on Venus in extraordinary discovery of Earth-like phosphine gas in atmosphere


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