If life exists on Venus, NASA may have first detected it in 1978. But this address did not last for 42 years.
Life on Venus is still a long shot. But there is reason to take the idea seriously. On 14 September, a team of scientists made a bang announcement in the magazine Nature astronomy: Using telescopes, they detected a poisonous gas, a poisonous gas, believed to be a possible sign of alien microbial life, in the upper part of the planet’s dense atmosphere. Detection was a milestone in the long hunt for somewhere else in life Solar System, Which has mostly focused on the orbit of Mars and some moons and Jupiter and Saturn. Meanwhile, Venus, hot and poisonous, was considered too inhuman for long to survive anything. But now, digging through archival NASA data, Rakesh Mogul, a biochemist at Cal Poly Pomona in California, and his colleagues have found an indication of phosphine raised by Pioneer 13 – an investigation that reached Venus in December 1978 .
“when [Nature Astronomy paper] “I immediately thought of the massive spectra of inheritance,” Mogul told Live Science.
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He said that Mogul and his companions were largely familiar with the mission figures. “So, for us, it was a great next step to give the data another look. In this way, after consulting with my co-authors, we identified the original scientific articles, and immediately started looking for phosphorus compounds. Did it. ”
Search, published for arXiv The database is 22 September and not yet peer reviewed, which does not tell researchers beyond what is reported in Nature Astronomy – though it is made up of phosphene (made up of one) Phosphorus Atom and three Hydrogen) Even more certain, he said. The 1978 data comes from the Large Probe Neutral Mass Spectrometer (LNMS), one of several devices that landed in Venus’s atmosphere as part of the Pioneer 13 mission.
Pioneer 13 dropped a large probe (LNMS) into Venus’ clouds; Suspended with a parachute, the investigation collected the data and sent it back Earth As it progressed towards its robotic death. (Three small probes were also dropped from Pioneer 13 without a parachute.) LNMS sampled the atmosphere and ran through those samples mass spectrometryA standard laboratory technique is used to identify unknown chemicals. When scientists first described the results of LNMS in the 1970s, they did not discuss Phosphorus-Focusing on compound compounds such as phosphine instead of other compounds.
When Mogul’s team rediscovered LNMS data from Venus’ lower and middle clouds (a potentially habitable zone on the planet), they found clues that look a great deal like phosphine, the researchers wrote. Scientists also found definite evidence for this Atoms Phosphorus in the atmosphere, possibly from heavy gas like phosphine.
LNMS was not created to hunt compounds such as phosphine, and has a hard time separating gas from other molecules that have similar masses. But there was evidence of some molecule present in the gas in the Pioneer 13 sample that had the same mass as phosphine – which corresponded to levels described in the Nature Astronomy paper.
“I believe the evidence for this [trace chemicals that could be signatures of life] Legacy data were discounted, as it was thought that they might not exist in the atmosphere, “Mogul said.” I think many people are now re-viewing the notion of Venus as a completely oxidized environment. “(A) is completely degrading the environment.” It will not contain phosphine or other chemicals seen as signs of life. ”
Mogul and his colleagues also found signs of other chemicals that should not be naturally occurring in Venus’ clouds – substances such as chlorine, oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
“We believe that this is not yet an indication of discovered chemistry,” he wrote, “and / or chemistry is conducive to life.”
The need, he wrote, is further, the constant search for Venus.
“We need a more sustained approach to exploration, like Mars,” Mogul said.
He said NASA and European, Indian and Russian space agencies have plans for a Venus probe that could be helpful.
“However, when considering the past, present and future habit of Venus, we will need long-term chemical and geology studies to understand the sources of any possible chemical. [anomalies] In the clouds, “he said.” This can occur from orbital probes, balloon-suspended probes in clouds and / or heat-stabilized lander probes. ”
The phrase “heat-stable” is important, given the planet’s habit of killing any robot that lands on its hot surface.
Originally published on Live Science.