Lifeless? Scientists have verified the data, not confirmed the presence of phosphane on Venus


We will probably wait for the discovery of extraterrestrial life.

Five weeks ago the world is surrounded by the discovery of phosphane (PH3) in the atmosphere of our warm planetary neighbor, Venus. Phosphate is one of the so-called biological signatures, that is, chemicals that produce living organisms, and was supposed to indicate that life exists on Venus.

Scientists have never been this close to confirming the existence of life outside our planet, but the joy of a potentially revolutionary discovery was apparently premature. An independent team of scientists repeatedly examined the published data and found no significant percentage of phosphane on Venus.

The new study was published on the arXiv science preprint website.

Maybe next time

Data obtained with the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio was originally intended to indicate the presence of phosphane in Venus’ atmosphere. At present, we do not know of any mechanisms by which phosphane could form on Venus.

On Earth, phosphane is formed during the activity of organisms, so the exciting possibility has come into play that there is some form of life on Venus that could exist. in the colder layers of the atmosphere.

Planet Venus.
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An independent scientific team re-performed the statistical analyzes of the data obtained, but did not confirm the original results. Scientists led by astronomer Ignas Snellen of the Leiden Observatory say that the authors of the first study overestimated the significance of the spectral signal that was supposed to indicate the presence of phosphane.

Shortly after the original study was published, many scientists quelled enthusiasm for a potentially groundbreaking discovery and announced that everything could be peacefully different and that the data first require further investigation. We then responded to their reactions dedicated in a separate article.

Currently, only one thing is the same. The discussion about the presence or absence of phosphane on Venus will continue and only when the future shows where the truth is. In any case, Venus’s potential as a host of extraterrestrial life has just significantly diminished.

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