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Peter B

Hint of life on Venus?

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Peter B

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2020-09-15/life-on-venus-hint-phosphine-gas-discovered-in-clouds/12655772

... scientists are pondering whether life could exist around Venus after a rare chemical was found in its atmosphere...

Phosphine, a short-lived toxic gas, is produced on Earth either by microbes that thrive in the absence of oxygen, or by industrial processes.

"[The discovery] suggests either some exotic chemical process occurs we haven't got or thought of on Earth — or maybe that some kind of very robust organism survived the runaway greenhouse effect, and evolved up to live in the clouds," said Jane Greaves of Cardiff University.

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Orphalesion

That would be quite amazing. Some micro organisms in Venus' atmosphere and all.

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Peter B
10 minutes ago, Orphalesion said:

That would be quite amazing. Some micro organisms in Venus' atmosphere and all.

Wouldn't it just!

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South Alabam

High in the toxic atmosphere of the planet Venus, astronomers on Earth have discovered signs of what might be life.

If the discovery is confirmed by additional telescope observations and future space missions, it could turn the gaze of scientists toward one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Venus, named after the Roman goddess of beauty, roasts at temperatures of hundreds of degrees and is cloaked by clouds that contain droplets of corrosive sulfuric acid. Few have focused on the rocky planet as a habitat for something living.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/life-on-venus-astronomers-see-phosphine-signal-in-its-clouds/ar-BB191iwE?ocid=spartan-dhp-feeds

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Peter B

The other interesting thing about this news is that Venus has no water. NASA's search for life elsewhere in the Solar System has been based on a search for water.

But if there's life on (okay, above) Venus where there's no water, presumably this opens up the search for life to a range of other environmental situations.

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Waspie_Dwarf
18 minutes ago, Peter B said:

The other interesting thing about this news is that Venus has no water.

That's no entirely true. The surface of Venus has no water but water vapour has been detected in Venus' atmosphere. Water vapour makes up around 0.002% of the Venusian atmosphere compared with around 0.40% for Earth.

It's also worth noting that current thinking is that Venus developed oceans early in its existence (possibly before the Earth did) and kept them until much more recently (geologically speaking) than Mars. Hence, if there is microbial life in the Venusian atmosphere, it is likely to be descended from life that arose when Venus was much more Earth like.

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Peter B
Just now, Waspie_Dwarf said:

That's no entirely true. The surface of Venus has no water but water vapour has been detected in Venus' atmosphere. Water vapour makes up around 0.002% of the Venusian atmosphere compared with around 0.40% for Earth.

Fair enough. I suppose the question then is whether that's enough to support the amount of life indicated by the amount of phosphine detected.

Just now, Waspie_Dwarf said:

It's also worth noting that current thinking is that Venus developed oceans early in its existence (possibly before the Earth did) and kept them until much more recently (geologically speaking) than Mars. Hence, if there is microbial life in the Venusian atmosphere, it is likely to be descended from life that arose when Venus was much more Earth like.

True. The assumption in my previous post was based on a complete lack of water. Does it then perhaps raise the question of how that water has survived? My understanding is that Venus's primordial water was broken down into hydrogen and oxygen following its vaporisation, with the hydrogen being driven off by the solar wind. How would any water have survived that process? Or is that not really a problem?

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docyabut2

we don't know about it all, unless we land on other planets:)

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XenoFish

It would take one hell of an extremophile to live on Venus. 

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quiXilver

When life is perceived elsewhere, it will be wholly unsurprising to a few of us.

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Peter B
9 minutes ago, quiXilver said:

When life is perceived elsewhere, it will be wholly unsurprising to a few of us.

You think so? I'd have thought it would be unsurprising to a lot of people. I sort of feel that, in various ways, lots of people have integrated the concept of extraterrestrial life into their worldview.

Doesn't mean it won't be exciting as all heck, though.

Edited by Peter B
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third_eye

Venus sneezed... or farted... 

~

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ChrLzs

There's a slightly more restrained article here:

https://www.space.com/phosphine-venus-clouds-chemical-explained.html

We don't know a heck of a lot about the stuff - yes, it's often associated with life, but it's also on Jupiter and Saturn...  It's a fairly simple compound (Phosphorous and Hydrogen), so given the extreme environment on Venus, I'll wager there's a chemical reaction mechanism there that we simply don't yet understand..

 I'll be delighted if it's not my boring guess..

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Peter B
1 hour ago, ChrLzs said:

There's a slightly more restrained article here:

https://www.space.com/phosphine-venus-clouds-chemical-explained.html

We don't know a heck of a lot about the stuff - yes, it's often associated with life, but it's also on Jupiter and Saturn...  It's a fairly simple compound (Phosphorous and Hydrogen), so given the extreme environment on Venus, I'll wager there's a chemical reaction mechanism there that we simply don't yet understand..

 I'll be delighted if it's not my boring guess..

The article I linked in the OP mentioned its presence on Jupiter and Saturn, but also explains the investigating team looked at this angle (but yes, it wouldn't surprise me either if someone comes up with a non-life-based explanation).

"We aren't saying it's a 100 per cent robust detection of life, but what we can say is that we've opened it up to the possibility that it is that," Dr Dempsey said.

"We don't know any other process that can explain the phosphine detection that we see."

Professor Greave's colleagues have modelled a number of different scenarios — including chemical reactions in the clouds, minerals being blown up from the surface, volcanoes, lightning or delivery by meteors — and none could explain the amount of phosphine seen the atmosphere.

And while the gas has been detected in the atmosphere of Jupiter and Saturn, Professor Greaves said the same processes do not exist on Venus.

"[On these planets] there is abundant hydrogen to form it at high pressure, deep down, and then it wells up. [But] free hydrogen isn't present on Venus or Earth," she said.

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johncbdg
17 hours ago, Peter B said:

Now will we any more from this or will they cover it up any form of life out just tells us all that the place is indeed teeming with life not as we know it but also could be full of big and better life forms that are even more advanced than us.

 

Get in there kids tell us we are the only life 

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Peter B
33 minutes ago, johncbdg said:

Now will we any more from this or will they cover it up any form of life out just tells us all that the place is indeed teeming with life not as we know it but also could be full of big and better life forms that are even more advanced than us.

 

Get in there kids tell us we are the only life 

Sorry, could you re-write the bolded part of the sentence please as it appears you may have skipped one or more words.

And if I'm reading you right, if people wanted to hide any signs of life on planets other than Earth, why would they release information suggesting the possibility of life on planets other than Earth?

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johncbdg

Earth is not the only one with life on it and there will be many other planets out there with more advanced life forms than humans we all new that some people will not want this to be true as it opens up a Pandoras box of all possibilities this news will burst some peoples bubble but they will get over it..

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quiXilver
9 hours ago, Peter B said:

You think so? I'd have thought it would be unsurprising to a lot of people. I sort of feel that, in various ways, lots of people have integrated the concept of extraterrestrial life into their worldview.

Doesn't mean it won't be exciting as all heck, though.

Well said.  My notion is likely a hold over from my conservative leaning family and older memories.

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Orphalesion
9 hours ago, ChrLzs said:

There's a slightly more restrained article here:

https://www.space.com/phosphine-venus-clouds-chemical-explained.html

We don't know a heck of a lot about the stuff - yes, it's often associated with life, but it's also on Jupiter and Saturn...  It's a fairly simple compound (Phosphorous and Hydrogen), so given the extreme environment on Venus, I'll wager there's a chemical reaction mechanism there that we simply don't yet understand..

 I'll be delighted if it's not my boring guess..

Yeah that's basically what I was thinking as well. I mean I don't have the scientific training in those fields to explain it as well as you and the article did, but I too find a chemical reaction more likely than some floating microbes. Still would be cool.

Same with Jovian life. I still very much hold out for the romantic idea of floating, jellyfish-like life in the atmospheres of the gas giants.

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NCC1701

Wouldn't these microbes fall to the surface? There is just gas there, any lifeform will be heavier than the CO2 gas.

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Imaginarynumber1
14 hours ago, johncbdg said:

Earth is not the only one with life on it

He speculated with no proof.

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Waspie_Dwarf
10 hours ago, NCC1701 said:

Wouldn't these microbes fall to the surface? There is just gas there, any lifeform will be heavier than the CO2 gas.

Gravity is not the only force at work here (if it was then metal boats wouldn't float on water).

Microbial life could easily float in the atmosphere of Venus. Creatures as large as spiders have been found in Earth's atmosphere up to 5km high.

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johncbdg
2 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

Gravity is not the only force at work here (if it was then metal boats wouldn't float on water).

Microbial life could easily float in the atmosphere of Venus. Creatures as large as spiders have been found in Earth's atmosphere up to 5km high.

Your right and viruses come in from space so even a seeding from Space could have made all life on earth as we know it...

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ThereWeAreThen
1 hour ago, johncbdg said:

Your right and viruses come in from space so even a seeding from Space could have made all life on earth as we know it...

Viruses come in from space? Wouldn't that be proof of alien life?

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Waspie_Dwarf
8 hours ago, johncbdg said:

Your right and viruses come in from space so even a seeding from Space could have made all life on earth as we know it...

There is zero evidence for this.

 

6 hours ago, ThereWeAreThen said:

Viruses come in from space? Wouldn't that be proof of alien life?

It would be if it were true.

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