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Possible Biochemical Discovered in Clouds of Venus

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Text, News From The Universe. October 2, 2020
 
Possible Biochemical Discovered in Clouds of Venus
 
Images, Views of the planet Venus from space.
 
Text, In high clouds far above the scorched surface of Venus, astronomers have detected a surprising amount of the molecule phosphine.
 
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The phosphine was frst detected by the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, United States, and confirmed by the ALMA telescope in Chile.

On Earth, phosphine can be created in small amounts by natural processes like lightning or volcanic activity, and in larger amounts by microbial life.
 
The phosphine detection does not mean that there is life on Venus. It presents a mystery as to how large amounts of the unusual molecule were produced at all.
 
If the phosphine is from microbes, it's unknown how they could survive in Venus' highly acidic clouds.
 
If the phosphine was produced non-biologically, it is from an unidentified natural process.
 
Either way, the detection of phosphine in Venus' atmosphere is a surprising discovery that will open up new areas of science and exploration.
 
This news was brought to you in part by the Royal Astronomical Society in London, United Kingdom.