London (UNA-OIC) – Astronomers announced on Monday that they have identified rare molecules in the clouds of Venus that provide “hints of life” on Earth’s closest planetary neighbor.
Researchers from Britain, Japan and the United States said they estimated that Venus’ clouds contained phosphine at a concentration of about 20 molecules in every billion.
Calculations appeared to rule out the phosphine being produced by non-biological processes, such as volcanic eruptions, storms, sunlight or dust suspension, they said, publishing their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Non-biological sources were estimated to be capable of producing less than one-ten-thousandth of the phosphine detected via observatories in Hawaii and Chile.
The detection of phosphine, formed from hydrogen and phosphorus, could indicate the presence of such “extra-terrestrial ‘aerial’ life,” the researchers said.