Phosphine on Venus?

Really big news coming out the planet Venus today.

As you might already know, Venus is inside the habitable (Goldilocks) zone of our solar system, even though no life has ever been detected there and the surface of the planet is exceedingly hostile to any form of life that we here on Earth are aware of. Some have long speculated that the atmosphere of the planet might be friendlier and some have even proposed setting up a floating space station there like the Cloud City on Star Wars.

Well, a chemical compound called Phosphine has allegedly been recently discovered in the Venus sky, at about the same altitude where NASA thinks Earth-life might be possible.

Now, bear in mind that claims like this have been over-hyped before. The YouTube link above will give us some details, but you’ll need to wait a little while over the next several days and weeks to hear from other scientists on it. While all of us hope to find life outside of Earth, and think that it is likely, the burden of proof science-wise for life on other planets remains quite steep.

Former NASA scientist Keith Cowling of NASA Watch has another website called Astrobiology Web where he is following this issue.

If you click any link on this topic today (Sept. 14, 2020) and get an error, then just keep reloading the page until it comes up. Websites that talk about this topic are getting hit pretty hard so far this morning.

THIS BLOG, being very obscure, might stay up during all this and thus be easier to hit, so I’ll give you the lowdown here…

  • The Atacama array in Chile and the James Clerk Maxwell telescope in Hawaii made the discovery.
  • The University of Manchester, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cardiff University participated in the study.
  • The findings will be published today in the science journal Nature Astronomy.
  • They are holding a press conference later that will be streamed at the YouTube link above.
  • Phosphine allegedly does not occur in nature in large amounts without the presence of organic life.

If you have any interest in life in outer space, you should hit that Royal Astronomical Society YouTube press conference link at the top of this article.

I’m currently working on a piece about why YOU should be excited about space right now. I’ll be sure and post an update of this topic there later after other folks smarter than me have looked at it. Stay tuned.

Update: The Nature Astronomy article can be found here…

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1174-4

The YouTube video of the press briefing (currently live) is not the link above after all, It is found below…

~ by Bill Housley on September 14, 2020.

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