Life on other planets | The phosphine data on Venus were incorrect: there is less than previously thought and the scientific community is in debate

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Last September, a team of astronomers (in conjunction with the NASA) announced what would be one of the most talked about events in the scientific community of the year: the detection of phosphine, a sign of possible life, in the clouds of Venus. However, there were many doubts in this finding, with a large number of members watching this topic in disbelief. Now, after several studies by other scientists, the same team that announced the discovery is warning that there may have been a processing error.

According to this international group in a new study published in Nature, phosphine levels are not as high as you initially thought, an erroneous fact that made the community think that, being a very high figure, it could not be carried out by natural processes on that planet, therefore, the remaining option was that of organic origin; that is, of life in its atmosphere.

The reanalysis, based on radio telescope observations in Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) en Chile, concludes that the average phosphine levels on Venus are about one part per billion, aboute one seventh of the previous estimate. Unlike their original report, scientists now describe their discovery of phosphine on Venus as tentative.

The reanalysis found that phosphine concentrations in Venus’ atmosphere occasionally peak at five parts per billion. That means levels of the gas could rise and fall over time in different places on the planet, said Jane Greaves, an astronomer at the University of Cardiff, UK, uA situation similar to the methane peaks that appear on Mars.

But it is not the first time that phosphine has been found in space: there is also in the atmospheres of Jupiter Y Saturn. However, the temperature layers of these planets and their very high pressures forge this gas naturally.

At the moment, one part per billion of phosphine in the planet’s clouds is still high, but every time the chances that it is organic life fade. SHowever, the community will remain discreet about its thoughts and will seek the truth behind it.

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