If Venus did not have life, NASA could have detected it about 42 years ago. Interest in the life of Venus has renewed in recent weeks after scientists discovered signs of phosphine in the upper part of the planet’s dense atmosphere – a toxic gas that has long been proposed as a possible sign of microbial life – in the journal Nature Astronomy. It was a landmark moment in finding life elsewhere, a project that focused primarily on Mars and centered on a few selected moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn.
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However, with the new search hook, biochemist Dr. Rakesh Mughal has decided to work within NASA archives.
It is here that he claims to have found evidence that in 1978 researchers identified traces of phosphine in Venus.
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He told LiveScience: “When the Nature Astronomy Paper was published, I immediately thought about the mass spectra of legacy.”
Dr. Mogul said he and his research team were widely acquainted with the mission information.
He added: “So, it was the next natural step for us to give the information another look.
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“Like this, after consulting with my co-authors, we identified the original scientific articles and immediately began looking for phosphorus compounds.”
The discovery, published in the RXib database last month, has not yet been peer-reviewed.
This is not something that researchers can say beyond what was reported in natural astronomy.
The researchers, however, said that the data make the presence of phosphine more specific.
The 1986 figure came from the Liar Probe Neutral Mass Spectrometer (LNMS), one of several instruments that landed in Venus’s atmosphere as part of Pioneer’s 13 missions.
Dismissed from parachute, Pioneer 13 dropped a huge probe into the clouds of Venus.
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Data were collected and brought back to Earth after the investigation sank toward his death.
Samples were placed using mass spectrometry – a standard laboratory technique used to detect unknown chemicals
At that time, researchers focused on other chemicals found in the sample by glossing into phosphorus-based compounds, such as phosphine.
When Dr. Mogul’s team re-examined the LNMS data, they found signals that were similar to those of phosphine and other phosphorus-based compounds.
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However, mixtures such as LNMS phosphine were not designed to soften.
It would therefore be very difficult to separate the gas from other molecules with similar masses.
Dr Mogul said: “I believe that the evidence of trace chemicals that could be the signature of life in inherited data was given a kind of waiver because it was thought that they could not exist in the atmosphere.
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“I think a lot of people are now rethinking the concept of Venus as a completely oxidizing environment.”
Dr. Mogul and his colleagues have also found indications of other chemicals that do not grow naturally in the Venus cloud – chlorine, oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
He writes: “It is in this that we believe that cabinets have not yet been found and / or why ministers are not likely to be favorable to life.”
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