Researchers found Traces of phosphine – a relatively rare molecule – in the heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus, astronomers announced Monday, providing a tantalizing clue about the possibility of life outside of earth.
Phosphine molecules found on Earth are primarily a result of human industry or the actions of microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environment, CBS News reported.
While observations suggest at least the possibility of microbial activity in the upper layers of Venus’ atmosphere, the researchers do not claim life has been detected on the second planet, according to the report.
“We have detected a rare gas called phosphine in the atmosphere of our neighbor planet Venus,” said Jane Greaves, a professor at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom and lead author of a report published in Nature Astronomy, as CBS quoted.
“The reason for our excitement is that phosphine gas on Earth is made by microorganisms that live in oxygen-free environments,” he added. “And so there is a chance that we have detected some kind of living organism in the clouds of Venus.”
Denying any claim, researchers said the team needs more study to support this “extraordinary” discovery that there might be life.