How many lives will it take to make a phosphine signal on Venus?

How many lives will it take to make a phosphine signal on Venus?

A biosignature

last week, A unique announcement was made About the search for extraterrestrial life: Phosphine gas found in Venus clouds – probable sign of life or “biosignature”. Now some gases can be false positive for biosynthesis because they can be created on a planet by other chemical processes such as photochemical processes in the atmosphere or geological processes under the surface that produce a gas. Methane can be a biosynthetic, and, for example We are hunting it on Mars, But we know that methane can also be formed geographically. Finding phosphine in the clouds of Venusia is truly remarkable because we do not currently know of any way to make phosphine either abruptly or without being part of the life equation. The question is – how much life ??

Clouds of Venus as seen from Mariner 10’s Flyby – NASA


Once a biological discovery has been made, one way to disprove false positives is to look at the concentration of the gases in question and see if any pure amount of life can produce gas. Phosphine gas was found in the clouds of Venusia at a concentration of 20 ppb (parts per billion). If the biomass required to make this concentration of gas is high, an unknown process may still be at work. Because while Venus may have a life that requires a higher concentration of life on the world, it is generally thought that getting used to the surface will begin to diminish your alien credibility.

Previous studies have already calculated the required biomass to determine how attractive it is to have a biological gas actually a product of an organism, not some other unknown inorganic process. Caesar, Bains and Hu in 2013 Published a study with foresight that most of our ET. The victims were probably going to look at distant alien environments to determine if atmospheric chemistry was indicating to us that something was living there. One such indication is that the chemistry is out of balance – gases co-exist which should not be, or a particular gas needs more. For example, if someone were looking at our own planet away from a light planet, they would see that the concentration of oxygen in our atmosphere is 10 times higher than the chemical balance. This imbalance is the production of oxygen from life on Earth and its attachment to the atmosphere. We don’t know of any other strange process that can account for that degree of disability. Another sign is the presence of a gas that is no known source other than life. This is where phosphine comes into play. In the absence of other known processes, The whole ocean Dr. And his team investigated “whether a biosignature gas can be produced by a physically exciting biomass.” And while we do not know exactly what an alien creature will be, we do know that certain chemical and physical processes are omnipresent. Only a little too much energy can be obtained from certain chemical reactions. And so, the study used these creative principles to avoid the trap of “terrestriality” – the basis of all the biological models we know of on Earth.

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Radar – Peering through the clouds of Venus to see the surface using NASA

Dr. Based on the whole ocean and his team models above, A new study by Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb Was released on September 16th Who applied the models to the latest research on phosphine on Friday. The result?

“We have found that the specific biomass density predicted by our simple models is several orders of magnitude lower than the Earth’s aerial biosphere b breast biomass density.” – Lingam and Loeb 2020

In other words, the formation of phosphine levels would require a much shorter lifespan than the amount of life we ​​have discovered in the clouds of Venus, compared to the amount of life in the clouds of our planet. This is really interesting because it means we can still count life as a potential source of phosphine gas. Probably a small amount of life that gives a hint we can see from the earth to tell that it is there. If the amount of biomass needed was really high, we might have to look for other weird processes we don’t even know about because it’s less likely that there is a high concentration of life on pigs.

Earth’s clouds / atmosphere also support an air biosphere
– Shabandowan Lake Sunset, Ontario – c. Matthew C. Simon

Life in the clouds

So now we come to the part where we talk about the middle ground, the kind of life that phosphine can produce. As far as 1967 is concerned, The great scientific communicator and astronomer Carl Sagan, and the biologist Harold Morotwitz predicted life in the clouds of Venus. For The first few billion years Of its history, Venus can only be more adapted to life in the last billion we know to be Venus. Life not only had time to evolve on the surface, but would likely move to the clouds as well. The surface of the pigs is slightly uncomfortable at 460 – C – hot enough to melt the lead. Venus’s day is meant to be “cold.” Lead freezing So the surface is out for life. But the cloud is a different story. In clouds 50 kilometers above the surface on Friday, the temperature drops to about 5 degrees Celsius where water droplets can form. In that layer of clouds, Sagan said, “it’s not hard to imagine indigenous biology.” Sagan and Moroviz envisioned the surviving “float bladder” to be about 4 centimeters in diameter with a hydrogen bubble inside it.

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Venus to Venus Surface 13. In harsh conditions, the probe lasted only two hours, enough to send only one of the handful of images taken from the surface of Venus – by Roscoms NASA

However, contemporary research suggests that microbiology may be compatible with the clouds of Venus. Dr. Research by the entire ocean predicts germs Present inside the drops In the cloud layers because “the need for a liquid environment is one of the qualities of all organisms regardless of their chemical makeup.” The problem is that once the droplets are large, they rotate to high altitudes in catastrophic temperatures. Then the life cycle of these bacteria varies between the stage of “small, scattered seeds and large, enzymatically active, drop-dropping cells.” Therefore, the proposed germs live in a drop of nutrient-rich water. The water condenses, but as it condenses and evaporates in the lower cloud layers, about 33-48 km, the germs disappear. In a degraded state, it is picked up by winds that send germs back to higher altitudes where it rehydrates itself in a small droplet of water. And during the enzymatic activation time of the microbe within a drop, it is probably making… phosphine.

I have never seen it come. In my imagination, this was going to be the first Mars. I’ve shown a lot of planets where we fly through the solar system in an imaginary search for life outside of Earth and always see Friday as “probably too hot”. And yet, the best biosynthesis for life comes from this hellish world. But this is science! We guess, test, learn, and maybe find something more amazing than we can imagine (although I’m still rooting for float bladders). #teamVenusfloatbladders)

To learn more:

Ling and Loeb 2020 – Biomass for the production of phosphine discovered in the cloud decks of Venice

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Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venice – Nature

Phosphine Discovered in Venus’ Atmosphere – Possible Indicator of Life? – Astrobiology

Did scientists find signs of life on Friday? – The universe today

What’s on the Surface of Venus: A History of the Venra Program “- Universe Today Video

Life in the cloud of Venus? Sagan and Moroviz 1967 – Nature

Venusian Lower Atomosmiere as a Depot of Designed Microbial Life – Al 2020 at Caesar

Exoplanet Biosignature Gases – A Biomass Based Model for Estimating the Capability of Caesar, Bains and Hu 2013

About the author: Raven Weber

Musicaholic. Unapologetic alcohol maven. Social media expert. Award-winning coffee evangelist. Typical thinker.

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