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Thread: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?

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    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?

    Source: NASA Watch




    By Keith Cowing on September 13, 2020 6:32 PM.


    Keith's note: There is a big press release coming out tomorrow (Monday 14 September) morning at the Royal Astronomical Society. They want you to know its big news. The press release has been issued in advance to some journalists under embargo - but not others (like us). We have not seen the press release. But according to several sources knowledgeable with the details of the announcement (who are not under embargo) phosphine has been discovered in the atmosphere of Venus. Its presence suggests - suggests - some strange chemistry going on since phosphine is something you'd only expect to see if life (as we know it) was involved.

    The presence of phosphine is seen by many astrobiologists as a "biosignature" i.e. an indicator of the possible presence of life. The detection was made by the Atacama (ALMA) array located in Chile and the James Clerk Maxwell telescope located in Hawaii. The research team includes members from the University of Manchester, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cardiff University. A paper will appear in the 14 September issue of Nature Astronomy.

    From what we're told the researchers have concluded that abiotic mechanisms (i.e. ones that do not involve life) that might produce phosphine cannot account for the large amount that they have detected. The phosphine has been detected in the region within the atmosphere of Venus that is considered by some to be potentially habitable. As to what spin the researchers put on this, we'll have to wait for reporters who have the press release or are allowed to participate in the Zoom press conference thing tomorrow at 15:00 GMT to let us know.


    Keith's 11:19 pm EDT update: This video just appeared online. Apparently someone got it from MIT and reposted it on their site - with a somewhat misleading title.






    Source: NASA Watch
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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    That's really interesting but makes me wonder why it took so long to detect? It might be that George Adamski's visitors from Venus (dressed like bus drivers) could be true. Kidding aside, it would give a boost to the side of the debate that life is ubiquitous in the cosmos. The environment of Venus earlier in its geological evolution would have been more amenable to life as we know it, the same with Mars. But then I don't remember why there is a necessity that life has to be 'as we know it'.

    I was going to suggest that 'the golden one' has something to do with it, but then I thought better of it. Keep smiling Aragorn, this is a joke. If you want, feel the need to remove this part of my post, please do.
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    That's really interesting but makes me wonder why it took so long to detect?
    Refinement of the detection process, perhaps? It's just an educated guess, but these days, this is the sort of area where the use of artificial intelligence really does pay off. It is much better at statistical analysis than humans are.

    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    It might be that George Adamski's visitors from Venus (dressed like bus drivers) could be true.
    Ah yes, blond with blue eyes, and traveling in the same type of 1940's-styled flying saucers as the Nazis were said to have developed near the end of World War II.

    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    Kidding aside, it would give a boost to the side of the debate that life is ubiquitous in the cosmos. The environment of Venus earlier in its geological evolution would have been more amenable to life as we know it, the same with Mars. But then I don't remember why there is a necessity that life has to be 'as we know it'.
    This I agree with. If there's anything we should have learned from the existence of so-called extremophiles here on Earth, then it's that life elsewhere in the universe ─ whether intelligent or not ─ could be quite different to what we know. In fact, it could be so different that we don't even recognize it as life.

    And yet, more and more scientific studies are being published about how life is most likely spread throughout the universe by meteors and comets. As a recent study has shown, the outside of the international space station is covered with germs that don't require oxygen and can withstand the highest doses of cosmic radiation, allowing them to easily survive in space for many years.
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