Traces of life on Venus turned out to be of terrestrial origin

(ORDO NEWS) — Humanity is relentless in its search for traces of extraterrestrial life, but most often takes wishful thinking, for example, gas produced by living organisms in the Earth‘s atmosphere as evidence of the presence of life on Venus.

We are constantly looking for evidence that we are not alone in the Universe, and first of all, we explore the planets closest to us and their satellites.

Until now, astronomers are looking for traces of life , modern or long-extinct, on Mars, considering the possibility of its existence on Europa , do not exclude the settlement of Enceladus.

Venus was not spared by these searches : although the world, where acidic clouds float above the hot earth, looks far from the description “suitable for life”, in 2020 astronomers reported the presence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus, which is produced on Earth by anaerobic ecosystems.

Its concentration turned out to be small, but the find spurred the concept of “atmospheric life”, which hovers over the surface of the planet heated to 470 degrees.

However, before talking about the possibility of life, it is worth double-checking the scientific data – and an international team of researchers from the USA and Germany used a unique observational platform for this: the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

This observatory, as the name suggests, is located in the stratosphere , at an altitude of 12-14 kilometers above the earth.

Because of this, SOFIA is located above most of the earth’s atmosphere, which greatly reduces the likelihood of receiving a phosphine signal from terrestrial sources.

Using the GREAT instrument with high spectral resolution, scientists collected spectroscopic data in the far infrared range at an altitude of 75-110 kilometers above the surface of Venus during three observation flights.

The results were unequivocal: no traces of phosphine were found in the atmosphere of Venus, so even if it is present on this planet, its concentration is at best 0.8 parts per billion.

Probably, the results of previous studies were distorted by phosphine of terrestrial origin, which is present in a small amount in the atmosphere of our planet.

So far, the only hope to still find traces of life on Venus is to get the results of a study of the planet’s atmosphere by the DAVINCI + probe , which NASA is going to launch at the end of this decade. Until then, those hoping to meet extraterrestrial life forms can only wait.


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