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Hints of life on Venus ?


The last 14th of September of 2020, some news came taken aback the researchers since the publication of a scientific article from Nature Astronomy, suggesting the possible detection of life on Venus. There could be life on neighbour planet ? Such near the Sun ? Nothing has been confirmed ; however, a huge hype has been created. These announcements have circulated and have been several times analysed, until the 14th of October, where the article’s author him-selves said that his last results could not be enough significant. Thus, no proof of life has been discovered.


Jane S. Greaves, author at Nature Astronomy, put in evidence an unexpected measurement. The recent discovery of a research group showed us the presence of a molecule, the phosphine, in small quantity, on Venus, which is the second nearest planet to the Sun.

Apparently, phosphine has been identified inside Venus atmosphere. However, this molecule is not supposed to be found on rocky planet, but it is normally found on gas planets. It is also possible to find some on Earth but in very small and rare quantity, coming from living organisms !

What is important to understand with this molecule made of phosphorus and hydrogen, is that it could be from an organic origin, from Venus. This would mean that a such living organism was able to synthesize some and leave traces behind. From there, the measures made by the instruments put in evidence that phosphine was formed by an organism and that it is not the resulting of an interference or neither a computer failure during data reception. Jane S. Greaves suggested thanks to those results multiple scenarios describing phosphine origins. Among them, life could explain it.

Venus: computer-generated imagery

Later, these results were greatly shared on social medias and news as concrete proof of an extraterrestrial life.

However, this case exploded but only for a short moment in comparison of the time scale of scientific articles. Many shady results and methods slowed this excitement. A new public announcement from the author on October 14th, backtracking on his statement and results, saying that they probably discover phosphine or really anything. The mistake may come from measuring instruments. No conclusion could be made in favor of the presence of this molecule or of a life on Venus.

Unfortunately, we still have no evidence of an extraterrestrial life but this does not prevent us from searching continuously, here and elsewhere, to lead us more and more on the road to the final discovery.




Enzo PEREZ (pictures made with BLENDER)

Web site Science étonnante, « De la vie sur Vénus ? Pas sûr, mais pourquoi pas ! »
Web site Le Monde, « Les indices d’une éventuelle vie sur Vénus s’effacent »
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