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IS THERE LIFE ON VENUS?

 Astronomers find phosphine signal in its clouds

ABOUT THE DISCOVERY

A gas called phosphine has been detected on Venus atmosphere which indicates that microbes may inhabit Earth's inhospitable neighbour, a sign of potential life beyond our planet.

WHAT IS PHOSPHINE?

Phosphine is a

HIGHLY TOXIC AND COLOURLESS GAS

with an odour of sh or garlic. It is So chemically reactive that it breaks down quickly. On Earth, it is produced by bacteria that survive in the absence of oxygen.


HOW WAS THE GAS SPOTTED?

An international scientific team Arst spotted phosphine using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and confirmed it using the Atacama Large Millimeter/ submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DISCOVERY

The new findings will further ignite interest in space missions to Venus, previously overlooked in the search for extraterrestrial life because it is wrapped in a thick, toxic atmosphere that traps in heat.

Surface temperatures on Venus reach 880 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead.


SO, IS THERE LIFE ON VENUS?

Actual life forms on Venus have not been discovered but observations suggest the possibility of microbial activity in the upper layers of its atmosphere. Research is continuing to either confirm the presence of life or i nd an alternative explanation to the i ndings.

MISSIONS ON VENUS SO FAR

1961 - Exploration on Venus began

1962 - First spacecraft at Venus

1967 - Venus' atmosphere was measured in which large amounts of carbon dioxide were detected

1975 - First time Venus was pictured

2010 - Akatsuki, which is currently Venus' only guest from Earth, was launched

India is planning to launch its "Shukrayaan-1' spacecraft to Venus by 2023

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