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phosphine on venus

1 grudnia 2020 By Brak komentarzy

“Something weird is happening.”. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose. On Earth, phosphine is part of the phosphorus biochemical cycle and is likely the result of phosphate reduction in decaying organic matter. Venus lacks the high temperatures and pressures to form phosphine the way gas giants such as Jupiter do; thus another explanation for its presence is required. The only non-organic (AKA abiotic) mechanism for the production of phosphine involves high temperatures and pressures, which are common within the atmospheres of gas giants. Regardless, several scientists argued at VEXAG that a modest level of even 1 ppm phosphine cannot be attributed to processes like volcanism or lightning. In other words, if the observation of phosphine on Venus is right, something must be continually replenishing the molecule in the planet’s atmosphere. On Earth, phosphine is rarely found outside of swamps, penguin poop and lightning strikes. But phosphine is also made naturally by some species of anaerobic bacteria—organisms that live in the oxygen-starved environments of landfills, marshlands, and even animal guts. Has there ever been a planet-planet eclipse (i.e., observed from Earth)? In June 2017, Cardiff University’s Jane Greaves and colleagues took a look at Venus using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, which scans the sky in radio wavelengths from its perch atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It’s just a matter of going,” Gilmore says. For obvious reasons, finding evidence of phosphine on Venus would be very appealing. Based on the new ALMA data, the team estimates that phosphine levels average at about 1 ppb—about one-seventh of their earlier estimate. If true, this situation is similar to what scientists have observed on Mars, where methane levels wax and wane over the course of a Martian year and vary from place to place. The tentative detection of phosphine is likely to fuel calls for a return to Venus—a trip that some say is long overdue, given that the last time NASA sent a probe to the planet was in 1989. Used as a chemical weapon during World War I, phosphine is still manufactured as an agricultural fumigant, is used in the semiconductor industry, and is a nasty byproduct of meth labs. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1449240174198-2'); }); Shortly thereafter, a series of papers was published that questioned the observations and conclusions, with one team going as far as to say there was "no phosphine" in Venus's atmosphere at all. In September, an international team announced that they had discovered phosphine gas (PH3) in the atmosphere of Venus based on data obtained by … Maybe phosphine doesn’t actually exist on Venus, or maybe it varies over time. A model for biological production of phosphine on Venus. Clouds are ephemeral on Earth, so it’s unlikely that they support permanent ecosystems, but on Venus, cloudy days are in the forecast for millions or even billions of years. In 1978, this missions studies Venus' cloud layer using a probe that it dropped into the atmosphere. But everything we’ve learned about life on Earth suggests that it will move into every available nook and cranny. Phosphine, a stinky, toxic and flammable gas found on Earth, has been detected in the atmosphere of Venus. the clouds carry the basic ingredients for life as we know it: absorb more ultraviolet light than expected. Despite the acid, the clouds carry the basic ingredients for life as we know it: sunlight, water, and organic molecules. Traces of a rare molecule known as phosphine have been found in the hellish, heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus… Near the giant planets’ cores, the temperatures and pressures are extreme enough to craft the molecule, which then rises through the atmosphere. Among the scenarios the scientists investigated were volcanic outgassing, intense lightning strikes, tectonic plates rubbing together, bismuth rain, and cosmic dust. The signal is faint, and the team needed to perform an extensive amount of processing to pull it from the data returned by the telescopes. Dark higher-altitude clouds obscure the brighter mid-altitude clouds in this image of Venus taken by an infrared camera on board Japan's Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter. ESO / M. Kornmesser / L. Calçada & NASA / JPL / Caltech “We used the most favorable wavelength,” says Jane Greaves (Cardiff University, UK), who led the study that detected phosphine at Venus. The debate over phosphine on Venus rages on. In 2019, Greaves, Sousa-Silva, and their colleagues followed up on the initial phosphine observation using ALMA, an array of telescopes on a high Chilean plateau. And near the middle of the cloud layer, temperatures and pressures are rather Earthlike. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details to third parties. If this compound is confirmed in Venus' atmosphere, it would indicate that Venus is capable of supporting extreme lifeforms in niche habitats. Click here to sign in with Schulze-Makuch says it’s completely within the realm of possibility to do an atmospheric sample-return mission, sending a spacecraft to swoop through the clouds and gather gas and particles to bring back to Earth. And it’s another Earth. “They took the right steps to verify the signal, but I’m still not convinced that this is real,” Carpenter says. According to Greaves and her colleagues, the ALMA data demonstrated a spectral signature that cannot be explained by anything other than the compound phosphene. In the original study, which was published in the Sept. 14th issue of Nature Astronomy, the team presented findings from ALMA and the JCMT that indicated the presence of PH3 around Venus' cloud deck. Any life there now is “much more likely to be a relic of a more dominating early biosphere,” says Penelope Boston, a NASA astrobiologist who specializes in studying microbes in weird places on Earth. “Whether it’s life or not, it has to be a really exotic mechanism,” Sousa-Silva says. Finding phosphine on Venus would be tantalizing because microbes produce the gas on Earth. Even so, Sanjay Limaye, a planetary scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says the discovery is exciting enough to continue searching, and preferably from a much closer vantage point. It’s extremely hard to make, and the chemistry in the clouds should destroy the molecule before it can accumulate to the observed amounts. An artist's depiction of Venus and, in the inset, phosphine molecules. This makes the existence of animal life unlikely. We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. “When I first started talking about it, there was a lot of resistance, mostly because it’s such a harshly acidic environment,” says Grinspoon, who has pushed the idea of cloud-borne life on Venus since the mid-1990s. Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. As far as we know, on rocky planets such as Venus and Earth, phosphine can only be made by life—whether human or microbe. An international team of astronomers detected phosphine (PH 3) in the atmosphere of Venus. While it was found that all of those processes are possible on Venus, they cannot account for the concentration of phosphine observed — which comes in at nearly 20 parts per billion. Although phosphine is a sign of life on our planet, Venus is an alien planet, so the science behind the phosphine discovered is unknown. By organic life forms, although it can accumulate to the criticisms that made! 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