Is there life floating in the clouds of Venus?

It’s an extraordinary possibility - the idea that living organisms are floating in the clouds of Planet Venus.

But this is what astronomers are now considering after detecting a gas in the atmosphere they can’t explain. That gas is phosphine - a molecule made up of one phosphorus atom and three hydrogen atoms. On Earth, phosphine is associated with life, with microbes living in the guts of animals like penguins, or in oxygen-poor environments such as swamps. For sure, you can make it industrially, but there are no factories on Venus; and there are certainly no penguins.

So why is this gas there, 50km up from the planet’s surface?

I think this is really fascinating. Perhaps in the future (the article mentions in the 2030s) there might be new probes sent to Venus.

Just took a look. I would have been more skeptical were it not a balloon. The probes that landed on the surface haven’t lasted long; 475C/855F temperatures and high pressures haven’t been kind to landing probes.

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