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Skepticism surrounds 'life on Venus' claims

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Troublehalf

As far as I know they didn't make any grand claims. They just said, based on the stuff I read (and the press release video) that they found phosphine, they ruled out factors that could make it appear 'naturally' in terms of chemicals and were left with only one known way that such levels of phosphine could be in the clouds - microbial life. They even said, originally, that they welcome the scientific community to provide possible alternatives to 'life' and they then followed that up with 'we're not saying that it is life, only that based on these initial findings, the only known way it could produce this level is life... we're going to do more research' and other comments on the research was basically 'We need to send a probe ASAP' which is true. I don't think there was any major claim. Only that they had evidence of it, poor evidence? Maybe. But evidence nonetheless. Also, I was under the impression that this research was further research on the original discovery of phosphine gas in 2019, where it was done to rule out error readings (hence using two sets of equipment this time iirc). Could it be an error? Sure. Could it be a reading of the Earth's atmosphere? I guess (tho I think it was parts per billion on Venus when phosphine in Earth is parts per trillion but I probably am wrong). Could it be a naturally occurring event? Sure.

Regardless, it is something new. Either there is life - in which case... great! It could be a new chemical process - in which case... great! It could be we don't fully understand Venus and we're gathering more information on it - in which case... great! Hell, it could even be some unknown element on there that is doing a chemical process we are unaware of. All wonderful things. However the media will always run with 'LIFE FOUND ON VENUS?????' instead of 'Life may be found on Venus but it'll take many years of testing and double checking and possibly a space probe mission'. Doesn't really roll off the tongue. I always hope events like this will spur more money to go into projects. I'm still a big proponent of sending a probe to Europa to explore the possible liquid ocean for potential alien life. Sadly as far as I know 2024 is when the ESA will do a 'fly pass' to check for suitable landing sites, then another decade before NASA sends a probe to actually check. Maybe stuff has changed since I last checked many moons ago.

Anyway, there will always be scepticism and that's right and proper. I just don't think the scientists involved were going 'It is 100% life yay we did it' more 'We've ruled out stuff initially and left with only life - Please prove us wrong!' because end of the day, such research needs money and potentially finding life is more likely to get a good amount from various places than going 'Yeah we found some stuff about Venus which is different to what we thought'. I can only hope it is life, just to experience the reveal before I die... but I'm happy with any other new knowledge.

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McNessy

Well spoken Troublehalf

Edited by McNessy
Bad Grammer

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