Jan. 31, 2019: A Japanese research group has identified a giant streak structure among the clouds covering Venus based on observation from the spacecraft Akatsuki.The team also revealed the origins of this structure using large-scale climate simulations. In fact, NASA in July launched a next-generation rover to look for traces of potential past life on Mars. And that’s not all. An image shows how Pioneer-13's Large Probe, which carried the LNMS, may need to look at because it plunged through Venus's clouds. -ed.]. “We do have some of the data from that experiment, [but] unfortunately it is archived on microfilm and is not easily accessible,” says David Williams, acting head of the NSSDCA. British and American astronomers last month announced they had found the chemical - a sign of life - in its atmosphere. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, atmospheric probes that can directly sniff out the gas, evidence suggests the presence of phosphine, Alien Hunters Discover Mysterious Signal from Proxima Centauri, Asteroid Dust from Hayabusa2 Could Solve a Mystery of Planet Creation, Fresh Data from Gaia Galaxy Survey Gives Best Map Ever of the Milky Way. ESO/M. This has relevance for assessing the exobiological potential of extrasolar Venus-like greenhouse planets. 2020 in review: The hunt for life on Venus continues Image of fairy penguins watching Melbourne lights wins photo prize The discovery, published to the arXiv database Sept. 22 and not yet peer-reviewed, doesn't tell researchers much beyond what was reported in Nature Astronomy — though it does make the presence of phosphine (made of a phosphorus atom and three hydrogens) even more certain, they said. "It's tremendously exciting," said David Grinspoon, senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. “They were interested in the bulk properties of the atmosphere and how those properties change as you go up and down at altitude,” he says. Venus phosphine find: Unexplained gas hints at potential for alien life. Researchers claim simple microbial life forms might exist in the upper atmosphere of the world dubbed Earth’s evil tw… Data from an old NASA mission to our sister planet may contain overlooked evidence for the gas phosphine, a potential biosignature. by . If these data could be analyzed, and if the presence of phosphine could be confirmed, they could reveal more information about the gas’s atmospheric distribution—potentially a vital clue in working out its origin. Mogul and his coauthors were broadly aware of the information from the missions, he said. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. Instruments such as the LNMS identify molecules by measuring their speed as they impact a detector, enabling their mass to be calculated. ‘Life on Venus’ plot thickens as new discovery suggests NASA may have found life-indicating gas in 1978, they just forgot There are no known natural processes that might explain the volume of the gas found “And we think we’re able to identify some interesting things. Venus spins slowly in the opposite direction of most planets. 3 Scientists discover a material that can store solar energy for months, even years. Although the space agency has ignored Venus since its Magellan mission in the 1990s that mapped its surface, NASA now has … On Sept. 14, a team of scientists made a bombshell announcement within the journal Nature Astronomy: Using telescopes, they'd detected phosphine, a toxic gas long proposed as a possible sign of alien microbial life… But there's reason to require the concept seriously. "I think many of us are now revisiting the notion of Venus as a completely oxidizing environment." “People discounted [these molecules] because they thought there was no way” they were present in the atmosphere, Mogul says. A probe that was sent to Venus back in 1978 returned readings that showed the presence of … Biochemist Rakesh Mogul said a probe picked up signs of phosphine during the Pioneer 13 mission to the 463C planet. But Pioneer 13's sample did have evidence of some molecule present within the gas that had the identical mass as phosphine — in amounts that match the amount described within the Nature Astronomy paper. Life on Venus continues to be an extended shot. Venus was the first planet ever visited by a spacecraft, when NASA's Mariner 2 flew by in 1962. The group was led by Project Assistant Professor Hiroki Kashimura (Kobe University, Gradu… LNMS wasn't built to hunt phosphine-like compounds and would have had a tough time distinguishing the gas from other molecules that have similar masses. Before that mission, scientists could only peer at its … Could there be life on Venus? The search for life elsewhere in the solar system has until now not focused on Venus. “We were able to extract some data from the literature from about 40 years ago,” says Mogul, whose team recently posted its findings on the preprint server arXiv.org. (A "fully oxidizing environment" wouldn't include phosphine or most other chemicals seen as signs of life.). But the finding went unnoticed for 42 years. How Sea Butterflies Zip Through the Water, Russia Approves 'Sputnik V' Covid-19 Vaccine, 'Naked' shark was born without skin or teeth in world first, Vikings may not have been blonde, or Scandinavian, First Evidence of Ancient Egyptian Head Cones, Tiny Virus-eaters Might Lurk In the Ocean. The search for extraterrestrial life has largely focused on Mars, but scientists at MIT, Cardiff University, and elsewhere reported surprising findings in September of what may be signs of life in the clouds of Venus. Such confirmation would also suggest that the compound has been present in the Venusian atmosphere for at least four decades, meaning there must be some process that is replenishing it—whether biological or not. After taking another look at the data, however, Rakesh Mogul, a professor of biological chemistry at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, posits that scientists on the mission underestimated their instrument, which may have spotted trace amounts of other molecules—including, excitingly, phosphine. Furthermore, he says, if the LNMS detection is genuine, it suggests a much higher abundance of the gas than Sousa-Silva’s team found—so much higher, in fact, that it would be incompatible with the mere traces suggested by the recent discovery. ( "However, when considering the past, current, and future habitability of Venus, we might need longer-term chemical and geology studies to grasp the sources of any potential chemical [anomalies] within the clouds," he said. We may have already discovered the essence of life on Mars 40 years ago, according to a former NASA scientist. Credits: NASA. It took a bombshell announcement—and more than 40 years—to discern what may have been awaiting discovery in that information all along. So researchers couldn't believe their luck after they chanced on a feeding... the astoundingly complex LHC “atom smasher” at the CERN center in Geneva, Switzerland, are fired up to its maximum energy levels ever in an... Mexican archaeologists said Friday that they had found remains of 119 more people, including women and a number of other children, during a... NASA may have found signs of life on Venus in 1978 without realizing. The probe, however, actually took data from an altitude of 90 kilometers all the way down to the surface of the planet. In fact, NASA in July launched a next-generation rover to look for traces of potential past life on Mars. "We believe this to be a sign of chemistries not yet discovered," they wrote, "and/or chemistries potentially favorable always.". The scientists involved aren’t claiming proof of life on Venus, but the gas is a potential biosignature. NASA chief says Venus is 'one stop in our search for life' New research has revealed presence of a rare molecule in the clouds of Venus By James Rogers | Fox News Planetary scientist Mikhail Zolotov of Arizona State University argues that the Pioneer data are unlikely to be accurate enough to reliably detect phosphine—instead of, for instance, a more mundane mixture of phosphorus-rich gases and hydrogen sulfide. And the atmosphere is heavily composed of sulfuric acid, which blocks out the Sun and leads to acid rainstorms on the surface of the planet. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. While Venus is similar to Earth in size, mass, and … Many experts believe the best chance of verifying Venusian phosphine lies in atmospheric probes that can directly sniff out the gas. Life on Venus is still a long shot. On the biggest of Pioneer’s probes, an instrument called the Large Probe Neutral Mass Spectrometer (LNMS) looked for gases in the atmosphere, with mission scientists focusing on molecules such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and argon that were known to be abundant there. Data from an old NASA mission to our sister planet may contain overlooked evidence for the gas phosphine, a … Potential signs of life on Venus are fading as astronomers downgrade their original claims. Venus also is a planetary destination we can reach with smaller missions. By Paul Voosen Nov. 17, 2020 , 2:50 PM. Jennifer Chu archive page; December 18, 2020. Venus should not be able to make phosphine without life. Venus was the first planet ever visited by a spacecraft, when NASA's Mariner 2 flew by in 1962. NASA could soon send a probe to Venus to study the atmosphere – hunting for alien life. Similar in structure and size to Earth, Venus' thick, toxic atmosphere traps heat in a runaway 'greenhouse effect.' Life on Venus continues to be an extended shot. 2 YouTube, Gmail, Google Search are now back up after an hour-long outage. He notes, however, that the whereabouts of much of those data is unknown. Mogul and his colleagues also found hints of other chemicals that shouldn't arise naturally in Venus' clouds — substances like chlorine, oxygen, and peroxide. High in the toxic atmosphere of the planet Venus, astronomers on Earth have discovered signs of what might be life. As such, after consulting with my co-authors, we identified the initial scientific articles, and promptly started searching for phosphorous compounds.". High in the toxic atmosphere of the planet Venus, astronomers on Earth have discovered signs of what might be life. ), Researchers At Large Hadron Collider Are Confident To Make Contact With Parallel Universe In Days, Confirmed: China's Space Station Is Out Of Control And Currently Crashing Towards Earth, Your Brain Remembers Where You Left Junk Food Easier Than Healthy Snacks, Study Hints, Physicists Just Confirmed The Upper Limit For The Speed of Sound in The Universe, Scientists Claim To Have Found Why The Time Always Move Forward, This Strange 'Spherical' Cloud Appeared In The Sky Over Japan, Scientists Just Set a New World Record in Solar Cell Efficiency, Scientists Capture Incredibly Rare Footage of Deep-Sea Fish Devouring a Whole Shark, Gruesome 'Tower of Skulls' Discovery in Mexico Unearths Over 100 Aztec Sacrifices. "This can be from orbital probes, balloon-suspended probes within the clouds, and/or heat-stable lander probes.". 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