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The out-of-this-world news just keeps on coming in 2020, with the latest being that scientists think there could be life on Venus.

They’ve discovered a gas that has previously only been found in living organisms.

Phosphine is usually associated with life on earth. It’s a mix of phosphorous and hydrogen and is found in microbes that live in penguins. It’s also found in swamp-like conditions with poor oxygen.

And scientists have now discovered the gas floating 50km up in the Venus atmosphere.

Which leads them to two questions – is there life on Venus producing this gas? And is that life actually penguins that can fly at an altitude of 50km? (Actually, that second question is from DubaiLAD – how cool would flying Venus penguins be!?)

Life on Venus?

The investigation has been published in a paper in the journal Nature Astronomy. And due to the high levels of the gas, scientists are puzzled at how the gas has been made.

The scientists on the team are now asking for input from others to help solve the mystery.

“Through my whole career I have been interested in the search for life elsewhere in the Universe, so I’m just blown away that this is even possible,” Prof Greaves from Cardiff University said. “But, yes, we are genuinely encouraging other people to tell us what we might have missed. Our paper and data are open access; this is how science works.”

While the surface temperature on Venus is around 400C, the temperatures at 50km up in the atmosphere are much cooler. And, potentially, more conducive to life. Which is why scientists are so keen to look at what could be there.

Flying penguins, obvs!

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