Researchers shook the scientific community by finding phosphine on Venus. This gas often originated through the decomposition of organic matter.
That could be a potential sign of life on our neighbor planet. And even though they still need to undergo further tests, it seems like they could be on to something. Worst case scenario, the findings could help scientists understand the changes the planet has been through over its history, leading to models and predictions of what could happen to Earth as well.
“Phosphorous would be in oxidized forms such as phosphate on the surface and for an abiotic source to be plausible, the presence of small amounts of phosphide, bound in metals such as iron, magnesium, in volcanic dust would be energetically essential, leading to the production of hydrogen phosphide, that is, phosphine,” researchers said.
Volcanic Activity On Venus Could Help Predict Earth’s Future
Researchers took a deep look at the data from the James Clerk Maxwell telescope from the Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Then, geologists concluded that vulcanism is the only way for phosphine to enter Venus’ superior atmosphere.
Scientists believe that Venus has phosphorus within its depth and it’s reaching the surface via volcanic activity. If that’s the case, then it’s possible for phosphine to form in the atmosphere.
This finding further confirms research from 1978 in which NASA found sulfur dioxide on Venus’ superior atmosphere, hinting at the possibility of volcanic activity on the planet. In fact, scientists believe that this activity could be similar to what happened with Krakatoa in Indonesia back in 1883.
While the presence of phosphine doesn’t confirm the existence of life on Venus, it sheds light on its geology. That paves the way for us to conduct further investigation on its surface. Also, by learning about the planet’s volcanic ability, scientists can make predictions and get a better grip of how climate change could affect our planet in years to come.