Articles for "Venus"

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Space | 24. August 2023 | posted by Ruth Titz-Weider

Life on Venus? A DLR FAQ about the trace gas phosphine

Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser/L. Calçada & NASA/JPL/Caltech (CC BY 2.0)
Artist’s impression of Venus, where astronomers may have first detected phosphine in 2020. Data acquired by the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea (Hawaii) and the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (Chile) were analysed for this. Phosphine could be present in the upper layer of the cloud cover. However, the observation is controversial among experts.

In 2020, the planetary research community and the interested public turned their attention to Venus. A research team from the University of Cardiff had detected the gas phosphine in the high clouds of Earth’s inner neighbouring planet for the first time. Phosphine (PH3) is produced on Earth, either naturally by organic weathering processes or artificially – for example for use as fertiliser. So, were traces of life on Earth’s neighbour indirectly discovered in 2020 by detecting phosphine? That would have been a sensation. Or was it much ado about nothing? read more