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MIT Scientist Discovered Phosphine In Venus Atmosphere

Researchers last year announced the discovery of significant sources of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. The colorless and odorless gas could be a possible sign of life. It is often the result of organic matter breaking down here on Earth.

The hypothesis states that clouds in the planet’s thick, carbon dioxide-filled atmosphere could harbor life forms that also happen to be resistant to the incredibly caustic droplets of sulfuric acid surrounding them. Other scientists have also thrown cold water on the hypothesis, calling out the possibility of a processing error that throws the data itself into question.

A new study is giving new life to the tantalizing theory. Sulfuric acid, MIT scientists say, could be neutralized by the presence of ammonia, which astronomers also suspect to be present in the planet’s atmosphere thanks to the Venera 8 and Pioneer Venus probe missions in the 1970s.Ammonia would set off a long chain of chemical reactions, they say, that could turn Venus’ clouds into a hospitable place. The researchers added that Life could be making its environment on Venus.

The researchers said that the model predicts that the clouds are more habitable than previously thought and inhabited. The ammonia gas itself could result from biological processes, the authors suggest, instead of lightning or volcanic eruptions, as presented in previous research.

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