APOD: 2020 September 15 – Biomarker Phosphine Discovered in the Atmosphere of

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2020 September 15

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Could there be life floating in the atmosphere of Venus?

Earth’s planetary neighbor
has a surface considered too extreme for any known lifeform, Venus’ upper atmosphere may be sufficiently mild for tiny airborne

This usually disfavored prospect took an
unexpected upturn yesterday with the announcement of the
discovery of Venusian phosphine.

The chemical
phosphine (PH3) is a considered a
biomarker because it seems so hard to create from
routine chemical processes thought to occur on or around a
rocky world such as
Venus — but it is known to be created by
microbial life on Earth.

The featured image of Venus and its thick clouds was taken in two bands of
ultraviolet light by
the Venus-orbing
Akatsuki, a
robotic satellite that has been orbiting the cloud-shrouded world since 2015.

The phosphine
finding, if confirmed, may set off renewed interest
in searching for other indications of life floating high in the atmosphere of
our Solar System‘s second planet
out from the Sun.

Read More: APOD: 2020 September 15 – Biomarker Phosphine Discovered in the Atmosphere of

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