In the atmosphere of the planet Venus, phosphine was discovered - a colorless and poisonous gas that may be of biological origin. The discovery was made by scientists from Cardiff University (UK) and the University of Massachusetts (USA) using the James Clark Maxwell telescope in Hawaii and the Atacama large millimeter-wave antenna array in Chile.
Phosphine is believed to be produced only by bacteria and other living things. Scientists do not yet represent any "inanimate" mechanism of its formation. The concentration of this gas on Venus is 20 per billion. At the same time, it is noted that the discovery of phosphine does not automatically mean the discovery of life on the planet, since gas may be formed as a result of unknown natural processes.
Details of the discovery are expected to be revealed soon at a press conference and then published in the journal Nature.
This is not the first suggestion that there is life on Venus. In January 2012, in the scientific journal Astronomical Bulletin, Chief Researcher at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Leonid Ksanfomality published an article on the analysis of images from the Soviet landing module of the Venera-13 station. On them, he found several objects that he considered living insect-like creatures. However, most colleagues were skeptical.
Now Russia and the United States are considering the possibility of creating a spacecraft for landing on Venus "Venera-D", which should, among other things, examine both the surface and - with the help of a detachable balloon - the planet's atmosphere for signs of life.
Recall that the temperature on the surface of Venus reaches 460 degrees Celsius, and the atmospheric pressure is 90 times higher than that of the Earth. The atmosphere consists of carbon dioxide (96%) and nitrogen (3%), clouds of concentrated sulfuric acid microdroplets create a colossal greenhouse effect. There is no water on the planet, just like oxygen, but there is wind: slow, powerful. No wonder our stations, when they landed, firstly, quickly broke down, and secondly, they showed a smooth stone surface, as if licked with a tongue. According to modern concepts, in such conditions the existence of living organisms of the terrestrial type - based on hydrocarbons - is impossible.