Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020
Focus on the big picture

Astronomers find signs of life in the clouds of Venus

Telegraph, 15 Sep 2020
Life may exist on Venus, scientists have suggested, after discovering phosphine gas hidden in the planet's clouds.

The gas has been detected in the atmosphere of Venus, which indicates it could host unknown photochemical or geochemical processes.

On Earth, phosphine - a colourless gas that has the smell of garlic or decaying fish - is produced predominantly by anaerobic biological sources - organisms which don’t require oxygen to grow.

And small amounts of the gas occur naturally from the breakdown of organic matter. While the conditions on the surface of Venus - the second planet from the Sun - are hostile to life, the environment of its upper cloud deck, around 53-62km (33-38 miles) above the surface, is temperate.

Get the latest headlines: and are websites of The Telegraph, the UK's best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.
Related Articles