Scientists Spot Possible Alien Activity on Venus

September 15, 2020 at 10:24 pm

Scientists wonder whether aliens are creating a rare, mysterious gas surrounding Venus

Scientists have discovered a rare, toxic gas floating in the upper atmosphere of our neighboring planet, suggesting there could be alien life on Venus.

Phosphine, a foul-smelling gas, with the odor of rotting fish, is found in pond slime and penguin dung here on Earth. It’s created by bacteria and other microbes.

Experts agree that it’s a a “biosignature,” or early sign of life. In the past, they’ve suggested the discovery of phosphine in large quantities on rocky planets would be a certain indicator of alien life.

Venus’ clouds are so acidic they would destroy any phosphine quickly, meaning something must be actively forming it for it to be present in such large quantities, say an international team of researchers.

“We had no expectation there was actually going to be any there,” said Dr Clements, a scientist at Imperial College London who was on the research team investigating the phenomena.

Venus – acidic, and hot enough to melt lead – has not been one of the chief planets researchers have looked to find alien life.

“This would certainly be a very hellish environment. I’m not using that phrase lightly,” Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist from the University of Westminster told The Independent.

“I don’t think any astrobiologist would ever have put Venus at the top of the list,” he says, pointing to better candidates such as Europa, the icy moon orbiting Jupiter, and Mars. “But you definitely wouldn’t have gone for our next door neighbor on the other side.”

“Either phosphine is produced by some sort of chemical or geological process that no one knows about – or there could be a biological reason,” said Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astrophysicist from the Royal Observatory Greenwich.