Signs of Life on Venus

By: ALFRED MORGAN

Extraterrestrial life has been talked about for centuries. It has been in legends, stories, and a ton of movies. Humanity has believed and searched for life outside of Earth forever and countless conspiracy theories about UFOs and aliens have been made up. Whether it’s a sketchy picture from Russia on Facebook or a Joe Rogan interview about Area 51, Earth has always wanted to meet friends outside of home. 

Recently, scientists have found phosphine gas high in Venus’ toxic atmosphere. Phosphine gas is a reduced form of phosphorus that is rarely formed as it requires a lot of energy to create. It is found in human intestines, deep sea worms,  badger and penguin feces, and most importantly, anaerobic microscopic life. According to Derek Love from the American Association of the Advancement of Science, “phosphine can be produced in anaerobic environments like sewage sludge …. some hard-core microorganisms (as yet unidentified) seem to come up with enough electrons to do the job enzymatically.” This has caused scientists to believe that there is a possibility that Venus’ atmosphere may contain life.

Venus has always been neglected by NASA as the association focused on Mars and other planet’s moons to try and discover signs of life or water, ignoring the closest planet to us. Stated by the NY Times, “Whereas frigid Mars is currently ringed by orbiters and prowled by NASA rovers, Venus is being studied by only one probe, the lonely Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki. Future missions to the planet are still mere concepts.” Maybe it is time to venture further into the planet closest to us, as it could hold secrets we have been scouring Mars for. 

There are many theories about Venus once being a habitable planet before it was turned into the Solar System’s hell planet. According to NY Times, Venus is “often called Earth’s twin, Venus is roughly the same mass as Earth. Many scientists think that Venus was once covered in water and possessed an atmosphere where life as we know it could have flourished.” NY Times also stated that, “Although the surface of Venus is like a blast furnace, a cloud layer just 31 miles below the top of its atmosphere may reach temperatures as low as 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a pressure similar to that at ground level on Earth.” This means that there is a habitable zone in Venus’ atmosphere which could potentially contain microorganisms that have the ability to produce the phosphine gas found on the planet. 

In conclusion, possible evidence that extraterrestrial life may be nonfiction now exists. Future research and missions to learn more about the planet will tell us more about the discovery but for now, all there is to do is to look up at the stars and wonder if something else is truly looking back.

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