Life on Venus? Recent finding hinting at life in the clouds questioned

In September, scientists announced they had found a chemical signature in the clouds of Venus that they said could be associated with life. However, in a new follow-up, pre-print study, the authors announced that the level of the chemical is seven times lower than they had initially reported.

In the original paper, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers claimed they had found high traces of phosphine, a toxic chemical known as PH3. On Earth, phosphine is either produced by organisms that don’t require oxygen to survive, or it can be created in laboratories.

In a reanalysis of the data, which has not been peer-reviewed, the study’s authors now say there may be less phosphine than initially reported, but that doesn’t entirely rule out a phosphine detection. They also reported that they are detecting variations of phosphine over time. 

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