Scientists may find the first evidence of alien life, the earth may not be alone

In the past few decades, mankind has not stopped exploring extraterrestrial civilizations, trying to prove that we are not alone in this universe.

However, the people who look for him thousands of times, the extraterrestrial life may actually be on the nearest planet-Venus.

Last night, a video of the Royal Astronomical Society expected to be released on September 14 was exposed in advance. An international astronomical research team discovered the presence of phosphine (PH3) in the atmosphere of Venus , which means that there may be life on Venus.

At present, human beings have not found life on any planet other than the earth. This may be the first time in human history to find evidence of life outside the earth.

Venus found evidence of life, the earth may not be alone

When we first discovered the presence of phosphine in the Venus spectrum, we were shocked!

This research team consists of astronomers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Manchester and Cardiff University. They discovered the phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus through the Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii, and then used the Atacama large millimeter/submillimeter array in Chile. (ALMA) radio telescope has been further confirmed.

▲Maxwell telescope.

At present, the results of this research have been published in the academic journal "Natural Astronomy" , which has aroused great attention from the astronomy and aviation fields, and many people in the industry can hardly hide their excitement about this discovery.

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Director Jim Bridenstine said on Twitter:

The discovery of phosphine, a by-product of anaerobic organisms, is the most important development in the discovery of evidence for extraterrestrial life. About 10 years ago, NASA discovered microorganisms in the upper atmosphere at 120,000 feet on Earth. It is time to prioritize Venus.

Laura McKemmish, a spectrographer at the University of New South Wales , said :

This research marks the beginning of a new era in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Phosphine is a highly toxic gas. Why is the discovery of phosphine on Venus considered as possible evidence of life?

This is because phosphine is usually produced by the metabolism of anaerobic organisms and is generally not produced in the natural environment.

▲ Picture from: The Verge

But it is not absolute. On the earth, natural phenomena such as volcanic activity, meteorites, and lightning may produce a certain amount of phosphine, but the amount is very small. The most important source of phosphine in the earth's atmosphere, in addition to anaerobic biological metabolism, is human industrial production, which is all related to life activities.

Professor Clara Sousa-Silva , a molecular astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who participated in this research, also pointed out in a paper last year that phosphine is easily consumed by chemical reactions, so it must be continuously produced in large quantities to achieve the observable the amount.

The concentration of phosphine that researchers found in the atmosphere of Venus is 20 parts per billion, which is already 10 to 1 million times the concentration of phosphine in the earth's atmosphere. Therefore, Clara Sousa-Silva believes that the phosphine on Venus is likely to come from life activities.

As far as our current understanding of Venus is concerned, the most reasonable explanation for the discovery of phosphine should be the existence of life, although this sounds unbelievable.

According to this statement, does this mean that Venus must have life?

Not really.

Royal Astronomy pointed out that although there is no more reasonable explanation than the existence of life on Venus. However, it cannot be said that there must be life on Venus, because it is not ruled out that there are other non-biological ways to generate phosphine, which requires further research.

▲ Picture from: NBC News

There are also speculations that the phosphine found on Venus may have been left by the Venus probe launched by humans in the 1960s and 1980s, but researchers believe that this is not enough to produce such a large amount of phosphine and basically ruled it out This possibility.

To prove that there is life on Venus, of course, the most direct way is to send a probe to Venus to sample, but this is not easy.

How did the "twin" of the earth become a "hell planet"?

Venus has always been considered the "twin" of the earth. Its size, density, gravity, and internal structure are the closest to the earth in the solar system, and it is closer to the earth than Mars.

Considering only these factors, Venus is the best choice for humans to immigrate to aliens, so why all countries finally set their sights on Mars.

Because Venus is a "hell planet" that basically has no return .

The surface temperature of Venus is about 465-485 degrees Celsius . This temperature can melt lead and cook people directly.

Venus is covered by a thick cloud of sulfuric acid , the sun's rays are difficult to penetrate, and there is only endless night.

The concentration of carbon dioxide here is as high as 95.6% , we must know that the concentration of carbon dioxide on the earth is only 0.04%

The wind speed here is as high as 350 kilometers per hour , which is stronger than the magnitude 17 typhoon on earth.

The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus is 92 times that of the Earth, which is equivalent to the pressure of 1,000 meters on the bottom of the Earth, or the pressure of a person walking on the road carrying a weight of 47 tons .

▲ Concept map of Venus.

Under such harsh conditions, let alone the existence of life, it is extremely difficult for aerial probes to enter Venus.

During the 1960s and 1980s, the United States and the Soviet Union began to compete with Venus during the Cold War.

In 1962, NASA's "Sailor 2" successfully passed Venus, becoming the first space probe for mankind to successfully approach other planets. The data sent back allowed scientists to calculate the surface temperature of Venus for the first time.

▲ Mariner 2.

The Soviet Union was more active in exploring Venus. It launched 28 probes to Venus back and forth, 9 of which successfully landed on Venus, but the longest one lasted only 110 minutes.

▲ The Soviet Union "Venus 9" probe successfully landed on the surface of Venus for the first time (concept picture).

The last probe to Venus was the "Magellan" in 1989. Humans have not approached this planet for more than 30 years.

In fact, this "hell planet" was once a habitable planet like the earth.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Research (GISS) based on data modeling from the Venus probe found that Venus was in a habitable state with a temperature of 20-50°C for 3 billion years after its formation, with rivers, oceans and diverse life.

▲ Once upon a time, Venus was also a blue planet. Picture from: NASA

If it weren’t for an event that caused a sharp rise in carbon dioxide concentration and warming the climate 700-750 million years ago, Venus may now be another earth, and some scholars even believe that the earth’s civilization originated from Venus.

With the discovery of evidence of life on Venus, humans will also have greater motivation to return to Venus. In fact, at the beginning of this year, NASA announced a new round of Venus exploration projects DAVINCI+ and VERITAS .

▲ Conceptual drawing of VERITAS spacecraft. Image source: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The DAVINCI+ project will map the surface rock types of Venus and image the surface, while VERITAS aims to map the surface of Venus to understand why its evolution is so different from that of the earth by studying the geology of Venus.

The aviation science blogger @Space Craft believes that this discovery is like "paving the way for the new generation of NASA and ESA Venus probe series platforms."

In the words of Suzanne Smrekar, a researcher at NASA's California Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "We are exploring a world that was originally livable but lost."

Will the Earth be the next Venus?

Although Venus is now unlikely to be a destination for human immigrants, it still makes sense to explore Venus. To figure out how a planet similar to the earth evolves into a desolate hell may have some reference for the future of the earth .

▲ Hawking.

The famous physicist Hawking once stated in a TV program that if the earth's greenhouse gas emissions are out of control, it may become the next Venus, and joked:

Next time anyone is denying climate warming, let him go to Venus and I will pay for the trip.

The person Hawking most wanted to give to Venus was probably U.S. President Trump. When the United States announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, Hawking also warned that this move might make the earth move towards Venus, and eventually the temperature reached 250 degrees Celsius and it rained with sulfuric acid .

In many science fiction novels, Venus is portrayed as a warm and livable planet.

In "A Tour of Venus", Venus is the paradise of the animal kingdom. In Isaac Asimov's writings, humans build colonies on the seabed of Venus.

In the "Venus Retro Science Fiction" by George RR Martin, the author of "A Song of Ice and Fire", this is a bright, rainy and humid mysterious planet called Venus. There are swamps beyond walking distance, oceans beyond sight, steaming jungles, tumbling dinosaurs, and Venus natives with frog faces.

These science fiction writers who enjoy the future may not have thought that they may describe the past of Venus hundreds of millions of years ago. The greatest significance of exploring whether there is life on Venus is not to prove that human beings are not alone, but that it may allow us to better understand the past and even the future of the earth.

The title picture comes from: "Prometheus"

#Welcome to follow Aifaner's official WeChat account: Aifaner (WeChat ID: ifanr), more exciting content will be provided to you as soon as possible.

Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo