Possible Sign of Life Detected in Clouds of Venus

Possible Sign of Life Detected in Clouds of Venus
Greaves/Cardiff University/JAXA via AP)

Venus' clouds appear to contain a smelly, toxic gas that could be produced by bacteria, a new study suggests.

Chemical signs of the gas phosphine have been spotted in observations of the Venusian atmosphere, researchers report September 14 in Nature Astronomy. Examining the atmosphere in millimeter wavelengths of light showed that the planet's clouds appear to contain up to 20 parts per billion of phosphine — enough that something must be actively producing it, the researchers say. 

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