Author Topic: Life signature found on Venus  (Read 296 times)

Offline Bryanpoprobson

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Life signature found on Venus
« on: September 14, 2020, 06:00:03 PM »
A UK study has found Phosphene Gas in the clouds of Venus, this is a bio marker gas.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54133538
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Offline Peter B

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Offline Bryanpoprobson

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 02:56:52 AM »
"Wise men speak because they have something to say!" "Fools speak, because they have to say something!" (Plato)

Offline grmcdorman

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2020, 07:27:13 AM »
It's not a very strong case, from what I have read. They need to do a lot of processing to isolate the signal, and they've only found one signal so far. That means it could easily be a spurious signal or artifact.

They were planning to look for other signatures of phosphine, but COVID-19 happened.

So, a weak result that needs a lot of work to verify before it can be considered a real candidate. Still, very interesting and exciting.

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 10:19:53 AM »
It's not a very strong case, from what I have read. They need to do a lot of processing to isolate the signal, and they've only found one signal so far. That means it could easily be a spurious signal or artifact.

They were planning to look for other signatures of phosphine, but COVID-19 happened.

So, a weak result that needs a lot of work to verify before it can be considered a real candidate. Still, very interesting and exciting.

They ran a second set of observations using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array and saw a similar result as was observed on the James Clarke Maxwell scope.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline Bryanpoprobson

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2020, 11:07:53 AM »
They ran a second set of observations using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array and saw a similar result as was observed on the James Clarke Maxwell scope.

The corresponding results from both sites showed the same signature. The main reason for the delay in announcing this, was to rule out a natural process that could produce the gas in the volumes seen. This was especially important in an environment like Venus due to the high temperatures and pressures, not withstanding that they believe it could still be geologically active.
The idea of life in the clouds of Venus was raised by Carl Sagan, this team took the view that if that was the case what unique signature would be seen to identify it. The idea of Phosphine being such a marker has been raised before, this team just decided to look for it.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 11:13:04 AM by Bryanpoprobson »
"Wise men speak because they have something to say!" "Fools speak, because they have to say something!" (Plato)

Offline bknight

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2020, 12:46:36 PM »
Quote
Abstract
Measurements of trace gases in planetary atmospheres help us explore chemical conditions different to those on Earth. Our nearest neighbour, Venus, has cloud decks that are temperate but hyperacidic. Here we report the apparent presence of phosphine (PH3) gas in Venus’s atmosphere, where any phosphorus should be in oxidized forms. Single-line millimetre-waveband spectral detections (quality up to ~15σ) from the JCMT and ALMA telescopes have no other plausible identification. Atmospheric PH3 at ~20 ppb abundance is inferred. The presence of PH3 is unexplained after exhaustive study of steady-state chemistry and photochemical pathways, with no currently known abiotic production routes in Venus’s atmosphere, clouds, surface and subsurface, or from lightning, volcanic or meteoritic delivery. PH3 could originate from unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, or, by analogy with biological production of PH3 on Earth, from the presence of life. Other PH3 spectral features should be sought, while in situ cloud and surface sampling could examine sources of this gas.

I concur with the not a strong case observation.  I do admit that I haven't ever written a report of this nature.  The authors left themselves a lot of leeway, perhaps to lead other scientists to investigate the production means other than "life".  I'm not a chemist and don't even understand the biologic production of the gas, but I would caution that there have been many "indications" of life on other planets that has yet to be proved. 
The discovery of life on other planets would indeed be monumental news, but I would not bet against the failure of such discovery.
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Offline raven

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2020, 05:13:24 AM »
Well, it's about time Venus got a little more attention. Some Vega style mission or even an unmanned dirigible if we're feeling fancy could certainly teach a lot.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2020, 11:08:47 AM »
Maybe it's just the protomolecule.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline NthBrick

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2020, 02:11:31 PM »
Maybe it's just the protomolecule.
It reaches out. 113 times per second it reaches out.

Offline molesworth

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2020, 02:15:02 PM »
Well, it's about time Venus got a little more attention. Some Vega style mission or even an unmanned dirigible if we're feeling fancy could certainly teach a lot.
It looks like Russia will be going ahead with either the joint NASA-ROSCOSMOS Vernar-D mission, and/or one of their own, plus I believe NASA's DAVINCI+ mission is one of the contenders for future development.  With this announcement I expect we'll see a big uptick in proposals, and hopefully a mission or two in the next 5 - 10 years.

Maybe it's just the protomolecule.
I'm (im)patiently waiting for season 5 dates to be announced.  It's been a long wait...
Days spent at sea are not deducted from one's allotted span - Phoenician proverb

Offline Peter B

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2020, 09:12:07 PM »
Well, it's about time Venus got a little more attention. Some Vega style mission or even an unmanned dirigible if we're feeling fancy could certainly teach a lot.
It looks like Russia will be going ahead with either the joint NASA-ROSCOSMOS Vernar-D mission, and/or one of their own, plus I believe NASA's DAVINCI+ mission is one of the contenders for future development.  With this announcement I expect we'll see a big uptick in proposals, and hopefully a mission or two in the next 5 - 10 years.

Maybe it's just the protomolecule.
I'm (im)patiently waiting for season 5 dates to be announced.  It's been a long wait...

Sorry, what am I missing?

Offline smartcooky

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2020, 12:34:24 AM »
Well, it's about time Venus got a little more attention. Some Vega style mission or even an unmanned dirigible if we're feeling fancy could certainly teach a lot.
It looks like Russia will be going ahead with either the joint NASA-ROSCOSMOS Vernar-D mission, and/or one of their own, plus I believe NASA's DAVINCI+ mission is one of the contenders for future development.  With this announcement I expect we'll see a big uptick in proposals, and hopefully a mission or two in the next 5 - 10 years.

Maybe it's just the protomolecule.
I'm (im)patiently waiting for season 5 dates to be announced.  It's been a long wait...

Sorry, what am I missing?


A big Expanse of information?
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► Conspiracism is a shortcut to the illusion of erudition

Offline NthBrick

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2020, 02:37:20 PM »
Well, it's about time Venus got a little more attention. Some Vega style mission or even an unmanned dirigible if we're feeling fancy could certainly teach a lot.
It looks like Russia will be going ahead with either the joint NASA-ROSCOSMOS Vernar-D mission, and/or one of their own, plus I believe NASA's DAVINCI+ mission is one of the contenders for future development.  With this announcement I expect we'll see a big uptick in proposals, and hopefully a mission or two in the next 5 - 10 years.

Maybe it's just the protomolecule.
I'm (im)patiently waiting for season 5 dates to be announced.  It's been a long wait...

Sorry, what am I missing?
If you've never watched The Expanse, then you need to watch The Expanse. It takes some scientific liberties, but overall does a great job at realistically depicting a future where the solar system has been colonized. Lots of space combat, lots of interplanetary political maneuvering, but lots of heart and humanity, too. Many of the show's best scenes come when a character chooses not to open fire or sacrifices themselves to save the lives of other people.

Really good stuff.

Offline molesworth

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Re: Life signature found on Venus
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2020, 05:02:10 AM »
Off-topic, but I'm surprised we don't have an Expanse thread here.  I've wondered for a while whether the Epstein drive is a real possibility, although the Isp seems to be insanely high.  Something like that would really open up exploration of the solar system.

Certainly one of the things I love about The Expanse is the real physics.  If it takes 15 hours to get a reply from Titan, it takes 15 hours.  You can't just nip through hyperspace to Mars, you have to spend days getting there.  And all the things you might not think of, like wounds not healing in zero G, coriolis forces when pouring drinks etc.
Days spent at sea are not deducted from one's allotted span - Phoenician proverb