The discovery of life outside the Earth will probably be one of the most important milestones in human history. Venus, our closest planet, has a suffocating temperature and its surface is an ocean of molten rock and a toxic atmosphere, so it doesn’t seem like the best place to find it.
That yes; there are organisms that survive in the most extreme hot and cold conditions. They are the appropriately named Extremophiles, which can thrive in harsh environments. So can we hope to find life in a place like Venus?
An international team of astronomers, led by Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University, has just announced, on September 14, the discovery of a molecule, phosphine, in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only produced industrially or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. That is to say, phosphine is considered a biomarker, a sign of life (albeit microbial).
Does that mean we have found life on Venus? Has the most important milestone in the history of science been achieved? The opinions of the experts indicate, as almost always in terms of scientific findings, that we must be cautious.
We are going step by step to explain this discovery.