How long does it take to generate a phosphine signal in Venus?
Last week, Incredible announcement released About the search for extraterrestrial life: Phosphine gas was found in the clouds of Venus – a possible indicator of life or “biosignature.” Now some gases may be falsely positive for biodegradable codes because they can be created by other chemical processes on a planet, such as light chemical processes in the atmosphere or geological processes beneath the surface that make up a given gas. For example, methane can be a biosignature, and We are hunting it on Mars, But we know that methane can also be formed geographically. The discovery of phosphine in the clouds of Venus is truly significant because we do not currently know of any way to create phosphine without azimuth or life as part of the equation. Question – How much life ??
Once a biosignature is discovered, one way to rule out false positives is to look at the concentration of the gases in question and see if a reliable amount of living gas can be produced. Phosphine gas in Venusian clouds was detected at concentrations of 20 ppm (parts per billion). If the organism needed to produce this gas concentration is high, the otherwise unfamiliar ajiotic process may still be active. This is because the need for more concentrated life in a world where Venus may have life and is generally assumed to have zero surface habitat is starting to reduce your alien credibility.
Past studies have already looked at calculating the required biology, which is how reliable it is that a biosignature gas is not actually a by-product of organisms and another unknown agiotic process. In Caesar, Baines and Hu 2013 Published a study with the foresight that most of our ET hunts could see distant alien atmospheres, to determine if atmospheric chemistry was a signal that something lived there. Such a signal goes out of chemical equilibrium – gases that should not be present or an excess of a particular gas. For example, if someone were looking at our own planet from light years, they would find that the concentration of oxygen in our atmosphere is ten orders of magnitude higher than it should be for chemical balance. That imbalance creates oxygen from life on Earth and adds it to the atmosphere. We do not know of any other agiotic process that causes that level of infection. Another signal is the presence of a gas that has no source other than life. That’s where Phosphine comes into play. In the absence of other known processes, Dr. Sarah Caesar And his team explored “whether a biosignature gas can be produced by a physically reliable organism.” Although we do not know what an alien organism is, we do know that some chemical and physical processes are universal. Only so much energy can be obtained from certain chemical reactions. Therefore, this study used these global rulers to avoid the trap of “terrain” – based on all the biological models we know of on Earth.
Based on models like Dr. Sarah Caesar and her team above, New study by Mansavi Lingam and Abraham Lope Released September 16thTh It used models for the latest discovery of phosphine in Venus. Results?
“We find that the conventional biomass densities predicted by our simple model are orders of magnitude lower than the average biological density of the Earth’s aerial biosphere.” – Lingam and Lope 2020
In other words, we would have to live much shorter lives in the clouds of Venus to produce the amount of phosphine we discovered than the amount of life that would live in the clouds of our own planet – this is a believable life. This is very exciting because life can still be counted as a potential source of phosphine gas. A small amount of life that gives us a signal that we can see from the earth tells us that it exists. If the amount of biology required was really high, Venus would be less likely to have more concentrated organisms, so we would have to look for other agiotic processes unknown.
Life in the clouds
So now we get the wonderful part of guessing what kind of life phosphine can create. Until 1967, Best science spokesman and astronomer Carl Sagan and biophysicist Harold Morodwitz speculated about life in the clouds of Venus. For that The first few billion years In its history, Venus may have been the most suitable for life only to become the Venus we know of in the last billion years. Not only does time form on the surface of life, but clouds can also settle. The surface of Venus, which is covered in clouds and dense atmosphere, is slightly darker than 460 degrees Celsius – hot enough to melt lead. Venus means “cold” days Lead frost. So the surface is out of life. But Clouds is a different story. In clouds 50 km above the surface of Venus, the temperature drops to 5C, where water droplets can form. In that layer of clouds, Sagan said, “it’s not hard to imagine an aboriginal biology.” Sagan and Morowitz considered living “floating bladders” to be 4cm in diameter.
Contemporary research, however, suggests that microbial life may be more relevant to Venus clouds. Dr. Sarah Caesar’s research predicts microbes Be within the droplets In cloud layers “the need for a liquid environment is one of the common characteristics of all living things regardless of its biochemical makeup.” The problem is that once the droplets have grown enough, they rush to low altitudes where they fall into destructive temperatures. The life cycle of these microorganisms varies between “small, dry spores and large, metabolically active, droplet-dwelling cells”. Therefore, the proposed microorganisms live in nutrient-rich droplets. The water condenses, but it falls and evaporates at low cloud levels, reaching about 33-48 km. In the distance, the microbe is going dry. In a dry state, it is blown away by the wind, which pushes the microbes to greater heights, where it regenerates itself in a fresh water drop home. When the metabolism of microorganisms within a droplet is active, it potentially produces… phosphine.
I would never have seen it come. In my imagination, it would first be Mars. In an imaginary quest for life outside of Earth I have been given several planetary scenes where we want to fly through the solar system, and Venus is always “probably too hot”. Still, one of the best bio-signatures for life has come from this hellish world. But it’s science! We guess, test, learn, and maybe discover something more amazing than we imagined (I’m still rooted for floating bladders. #teamVenusfloatbladders)
More to explore:
Biomass to produce phosphine found in Venus’ Cloud Tex – Lingam and Lope 2020
Phosphine gas in Venus’ cloud tex – natural
Phosphine found in the atmosphere of Venus – an indicator of possible life? – Astrobiology
Did scientists find signs of life on Venus? – Universe today
What’s on the surface of Venus: History of the Venus Project ”- Universe Today video
Life in the clouds of Venus? Sagan and Morowitz 1967 – Nature
Venusian Lower Atmospheric Hay Designed as a Depot for Microbial Life – Caesar Al 2020
A bio-based model for estimating the reliability of exoplanet biosignature gases – Caesar, Paynes and Hu 2013
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