A major discovery in 2020: Alien life on Venus
The search for life on other planets marks a new milestone. Venus might be home to hitherto unknown forms of life. In 2020, a team of astronomers from Europe and the United States claimed to have found signs of these life forms.
It would not be life at ground level, because Venus has hellish conditions there: very high temperatures (up to 400 degrees Celsius), a rocky landscape, toxic gases, low orange sky, permanent fog... However, 31 miles (50 kilometers) above its surface, in the Venusian sky, there is another environment much more conducive to life. And there, scientists have found phosphine, a gas that indicates the existence of microbes.
The popular scientist Carl Sagan, creator of the television series 'Cosmos', was one of the first to point to Venus as a place where there might be life. The late Sagan claimed that in the Venusian sky, with temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius (suitable for life), there could exist a species of beings. They would be similar to jellyfish, moving among the gases of the planet.
Venus is the second planet in terms of distance from the sun (the closest would be Mercury) and is just under 24 million miles (40 million kilometers) from Earth.
In addition to Carl Sagan, other experts have speculated on the possibility that there is or was life on Venus. In fact, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has already concluded that Venus used to have immense oceans similar to those of our planet.
Despite of these findings, and the choice of Venus as the setting for science fiction, there are many skeptical astronomers. They think it's too much of a stretch to speak of life on Venus just because there is phosphine there. The gas that can contain microbes is fetid and smells like rotten fish, but those characteristics on Earth may be very different in the substance on Venus.
In fact, phosphine has also been found in the atmospheres of Saturn and Jupiter. Can the possible existence of life also be deduced from this? Scientists do not agree.
The data on the discovery of phosphine on Venus comes from the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, located 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above the volcano of the same name. To corroborate that the discovery is real and to get more details, scholars will use an infrared technique to observe Venus and look for more indications that there is indeed extraterrestrial life there.
In any case, this discovery has nothing to do with the possible discovery of complex forms of life. We are talking about microbes and not about flying saucers like those adorning the road signs of Area 51.
If the evidence of extraterrestrial life on Venus is confirmed, a trip to that planet, not far from Earth, may be a real option. In 1985 two unmanned Soviet spacecraft already penetrated the Venusian atmosphere.
The discovery on Venus may be the beginning of a huge scientific change. The planet shining in the sky at sunset could be home to life. Even if it were just a chemical anomaly detected on the planet, there is another path to the stars open for exploration.
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