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  1. SubscriberPonderableonline
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    15 Sep '20 07:24
    https://www.wired.com/story/dr-phosphine-and-the-possibility-of-life-on-venus/

    This is a lengthy article on why the finding of phosphine in the Venus atmosphere could be a hint of life.
  2. Subscribersonhouse
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    15 Sep '20 18:12
    @Ponderable
    I hope that hypes up the idea for an atmosphere probe to dip in and take samples and send them back to Earth.
  3. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    15 Sep '20 21:26
    @sonhouse said
    @Ponderable
    I hope that hypes up the idea for an atmosphere probe to dip in and take samples and send them back to Earth.
    Yes - seems doable. The temperatures at altitude are quite benign, a balloon
    loaded with test equipment could presumably float around for some time? I
    think the prospect of bringing samples back is vastly more difficult.
  4. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    15 Sep '20 21:29
    @ponderable said
    https://www.wired.com/story/dr-phosphine-and-the-possibility-of-life-on-venus/

    This is a lengthy article on why the finding of phosphine in the Venus atmosphere could be a hint of life.
    I think the scientists who discovered the phosphine are saying that there is
    no known abiotic mechanism for producing the amounts they have seen.
    They are asking the scientific community for ideas rather than shouting "LIFE!"

    Still very interesting though.
  5. Standard memberDeepThought
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    16 Sep '20 04:12
    @wolfgang59 said
    I think the scientists who discovered the phosphine are saying that there is
    no known abiotic mechanism for producing the amounts they have seen.
    They are asking the scientific community for ideas rather than shouting "LIFE!"

    Still very interesting though.
    I doubt that there's life on Venus, the conditions are extreme. The surface temperature is high, higher than that used for sterilizing equipment, and the atmosphere contains clouds of sulphuric acid, there's little or no water, atmospheric pressure is 50 bars and there's no magnetic field [1]. The paper announcing the discovery is here [2]. The interest in phospine as a marker for life on anoxic planets is discussed in this paper [3]. So the interest is that if we can explain the presence of phosphine in Venus's atmosphere without recourse to anaerobic life then phospine is not a good biomarker for life on anoxic exoplanets. If, on the other hand, we actually do find extremophillic life there then there's a double discovery, that of life on Venus, and a proof-of-concept that detection of phosphine is indicative of the presence of life.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus#Atmosphere_and_climate
    [2] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1174-4
    [3] https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.05224
  6. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    16 Sep '20 05:45
    @deepthought said
    I doubt that there's life on Venus, the conditions are extreme. The surface temperature is high, higher than that used for sterilizing equipment, and the atmosphere contains clouds of sulphuric acid, there's little or no water, atmospheric pressure is 50 bars and there's no magnetic field
    The temperatures and pressure at altitude are more hospitable and that is where
    it is speculated life may exist. The sulphuric acid is a problem though!
  7. SubscriberPonderableonline
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    16 Sep '20 08:26
    I do agree that life as we know it is highly improbably on Venus.

    And yes the authors don't claim to have found life, but I think it is still a good point to refresh research there. (I don't forsee any manned mission to the Venus surface due to the conditions mentioned in some posts here.)
  8. Subscribersonhouse
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    16 Sep '20 19:35
    @Ponderable

    It still will be interesting to find what is making phosphine, life or no, right now it's a bit of a mystery.
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