Scientists have recently challenged the discovery of a biosignature on Venus –

Scientists have recently challenged the discovery of a biosignature on Venus

Venus as copied from NASA's Mariner 10 probe in 19,9.

Venus as copied from NASA’s Mariner 10 probe in 19,9.
The image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

A bomb study last month made the extraordinary claim of finding a type of molecule on life-related Venus. An independent reassessment of the methods used in the paper has reached a completely different conclusion, finding “no statistical evidence” for the biomarker.

We knew that it would only be a matter of time before other researchers could weigh in. In.

Life on Venus? Seriously? Is this scorched planet – which has a surface temperature of more than 860 ° F (450 ° C) – really habitable?

It seemed impossible, It was nevertheless presented as a possible explanation for a stimulating spectral signal that was reported this past September. A research team led by Cardiff University astronomer Jane Greaves Claimed To find out Venus has phosphine, a gas which, on the earth, Can only be produced by microbes, at least as far as we To know. TO be clear, researchers never Made an explicit claim to life on Venus – he simply noted that this could be an explanation for the presence of phosphine. Suddenly, we found ourselves envisioning Organisms like bacteria, with them Stinky phosphine-filled fart floating in the layers of clouds of the Venusian temperate zone.

This vision, however, may be pure fantasy, according to new research led by Ignas Snellen of Leiden University. His team’s new The paper, Still in pre-print form and requiring peer reviewers, takes exception to the claim, concluding that there is “no statistical evidence” for phosphine on Venus.

We were expecting such. As Carl Sagan used to say, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” According to Dutch researchers the evidence presented in the Greaves paper is neither extraordinary nor general –This is completely unbelievable.

Slides showing temperate atmospheric zones in which airborne germs may be present on Venus.

Slides showing temperate atmospheric zones in which airborne germs may be present on Venus.
The image: Jane S. Greaves et al., 2020

Greaves paper, Published For Nature Astronomy, data collected by the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (ALMA) located in northern Chile were used. Snellen and his colleagues took a look at the same data given to them by the original research team (authors) Really tGreaves hails the team in the greetings section, as scientists show respect that side). He re-applied the same method when re-analyzing the possible phosphine signal, which appeared with a lone spectrographic line at 267 GHz. Try as they might, the Dutch team could not verify the results previously stated Nature Astronomy Papers.

Writing in their study, Snellen and his co-authors stated that the process used by the spectral team to study spectral data was “incorrect”, resulting in a “severe” high signal-to-noise ratio.

Indeed, astronomers are constantly struggling with signal-to-noise issues with their data, in which they must tease the desired from the unwanted. The space is filled with every kind of external material that can mess up the spectrometer, including stray photons and electrical bursts. Astronomical data in the form of microwave ovens can also be obtained from more local sources (yes,) Seriously). Here, the Greaves team claimed to be in possession of far more good data than bad (i.e. a high signal-to-noise ratio), a claim The Snellen team disagrees. Rather, the signal-to-noise ratio of the proposed phosphine signal is actually quite low, he argues, and in fact, it is too low to be meaningful.

“In astronomy, features at such a low [signal-to-noise ratio] While generally not considered statistically significant, “the authors write,” there is no statistical meaning at a low level, “adding such characteristics, that it” makes any link to a false positive probability unreliable. . “

So basically, Snellen and his colleagues claim that the Greaves team did something wrong –Measurement and misculturation, leading to an unfounded conclusion. What’s more, his analysis “shows that at least a handful of cool features can be derived from his method,” leaving them with no choice but to conclude that Greaves’ study “detects presence conditions Does not provide a solid foundation for [phosphine] In Venus’s atmosphere. “


Well, this is science for you. However this is a good thing: sThe progress made is dependent on scientists being able to copy and Verify the work of others (or in this case, no – but it should still be considered progress, As it advances the conversation).

The story is undoubtedly not over, as the original team, and possibly other scientists, may have had one or two to say about the claims being made in the Snellen paper. And indeed, new The paper has yet to go through peer review, meaning these new claims Now others should be investigated.


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