Venus would be the last place you would expect anything to be alive…right?


Following on from the recent news article about life on Venus, Rob who is a Physist and our Assistant Centre Manager at Stevenage Tuition Centre, has looked at this is a little more depth.

Venus is considered Earth’s twin. It has a similar size, density and even a very similar gravitational pull. However, its conditions are very different. With its thick atmosphere of Carbon Dioxide, it experiences extreme global warming, making its surface temperature over 450oC. That’s over twice as hot as most cooking ovens!

With that in mind, Venus would be the last place you would expect anything to be alive…right?

Maybe not!

Astronomers recently managed to detect a gas called phosphine in the clouds of Venus. Now why is this noteworthy?

Well, if we look at another planet in our solar system, Jupiter, phosphine is produced there due to the very extreme pressure and temperature (Jupiter’s core is thought to be around 24,000oC), which Venus has no chance of being able to reach. Phosphine can also be produced at cooler temperatures, such as on Earth, where phosphine gas is something that is associated with certain microorganisms, such as those living in areas with lower levels of oxygen, such as swamps, or living in the guts of other animals.

As of now, there are no known ways of producing phosphine at lower temperatures and pressures without involving life, so this does raise the question: How is phosphine present on Venus? Could there be some sort of process which, as of yet, is not understood, or could there indeed be life there?