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Announcement on Monday?


jnb
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4 minutes ago, Nigella Bryant said:

Great capture, what telescope and camera did you use? Is this a single shot or stacked? Did you use RGB filters? 🤔

Single shot with my phone. They just popped over in their spaceship to pick up some supplies for the iron chicken 😉

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The Venus/phosphine discovery team has also written a "hypothesis article" on "The Venusian Lower Atmosphere Haze as a Depot for Desiccated Microbial Life: A Proposed Life Cycle for Persistence of the Venusian Aerial Biosphere".

It is available on ArXiv here (pdf link at top right of that page)

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I enjoy science, but am no where close to being a scientist,  but really enjoy seeing scientific processes happening.

Personally I have always wondered why ot was always assumed you had to have the perfect conditions like we have to support life!

I look forward to more being done on this discovery.

If even microbiological life can exist in the extremes of Venus, image the possibilities!

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9 hours ago, maw lod qan said:

I enjoy science, but am no where close to being a scientist,  but really enjoy seeing scientific processes happening.

Personally I have always wondered why ot was always assumed you had to have the perfect conditions like we have to support life!

I look forward to more being done on this discovery.

If even microbiological life can exist in the extremes of Venus, image the possibilities!

I don't think anyone has ever assumed that you need "perfect" conditions but it is very easy and reasonable to assume that our conditions must be optimum. There are good reasons to make some of those assumptions. Possibly the biggest one is that you need some sort of solvent in which reactions can occur. Piles of dry chemicals don't tend to do much! Water is perhaps the best solvent as is is stable and liquid over a wide range of conditions. Water remains liquid over 100°C range whereas, for example, methane can be a solvent but is only liquid for a range of about 20°C. Possibly the biggest problem would be that the acidic conditions would dehydrate most mixtures removing the solvent and so stopping any reactions. That's not impossible to overcome but would be difficult. There are acidophile extremophiles we have found on Earth but they live in conditions which are mild compared to Venus

I remain to be convinced about this as life. Partly because of the extreme conditions to overcome but also because we have been here before with ALH84001 and methane on mars. Evidence yes, conclusive no.

 

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I think the point is, at some point, any scientific team, once they have a certain amount of results, need to put it out there, and say, "look we have this evidence", please comment on it.

That is what happened yesterday, we clearly hope that this results in further investigation, be it further review, further evidence gathering (which is probably beyond the budgets of Cardiff University or even MIT).

They've done the right thing, put it out there, made hypotheses, and suggested outcomes.

I hope it widens the research in general.

 

Edited by gilesco
typo
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10 hours ago, maw lod qan said:

I enjoy science, but am no where close to being a scientist,  but really enjoy seeing scientific processes happening.

Personally I have always wondered why ot was always assumed you had to have the perfect conditions like we have to support life!

I look forward to more being done on this discovery.

If even microbiological life can exist in the extremes of Venus, image the possibilities!

Metoo. The interest in it as a non-scientist   But the perfect conditions to find life as we know, does ask for an almost perfect climate i assume.   If earth is getting just 20 degrees hotter we can better all pack our bags and leave.   Dont know what life forms will survive a +/- 450 degrees warmer climate.  We are lucky to live in the sweet spot🙏🏼

Edited by Robindonne
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We are basing this theory on earth based assumptions about the production of Phosphine.  It could be that there are unknown ways this can be produced in alien environments that are nothing to do with life.

The media rush to conclusions and sensationalise everything.  To be fair the professor lady behind this was the first to acknowledge that.

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I think that one of the telling comments in that announcement is that we only know, on Earth,  of anaerobic micro-organisms that produce Phosphine and HUMANS. I am sure that it was not suggested that we produce the gas via our bodies but in chemical reactions in labs. This process requires that we bring together the right chemicals at the right conditions and we get as much Phosphine as we want. Chemistry does the rest. I, personally, believe that chemical reactions will be found on Venus that explains this result despite the offered analysis that says it can't.

Nigel

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19 minutes ago, Astrobits said:

I think that one of the telling comments in that announcement is that we only know, on Earth,  of anaerobic micro-organisms that produce Phosphine and HUMANS. I am sure that it was not suggested that we produce the gas via our bodies but in chemical reactions in labs. This process requires that we bring together the right chemicals at the right conditions and we get as much Phosphine as we want. Chemistry does the rest. I, personally, believe that chemical reactions will be found on Venus that explains this result despite the offered analysis that says it can't.

Nigel

100% agree Nigel.

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24 minutes ago, Astrobits said:

I think that one of the telling comments in that announcement is that we only know, on Earth,  of anaerobic micro-organisms that produce Phosphine and HUMANS. I am sure that it was not suggested that we produce the gas via our bodies but in chemical reactions in labs. This process requires that we bring together the right chemicals at the right conditions and we get as much Phosphine as we want. Chemistry does the rest. I, personally, believe that chemical reactions will be found on Venus that explains this result despite the offered analysis that says it can't.

Nigel

I think you are right, Nigel, but phosphine is apparently produced in the human gut, probably by anaerobic bacteria living there (and in penguins, badgers, sea worms). So one might argue that humans do produce it biologically, in the same way as we produce methane gas plus all kinds of smelly molecules (also produced by gut bacteria).

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On 16/09/2020 at 19:29, SteveWolves said:

Phosphine has been known to exist in the atmosphere of Jupiter since the 1970s.

Jupiter has a low temperature and high pressure atmosphere which would allow phosphine to persist. In the conditions of the Veneral upper atmosphere (low pressure, relatively high temperature, high acidity) phosphine is unstable.

I saw an account from the observatory science centre which pointed out that it depends on an unknown life process existing to survive in Venus atmosphere but if you are going to suggest that then you might as well suggest an unknown chemical pathway.

 

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5 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

It would be far easier to have a probe scoop a sample from the upper atmosphere of Venus than it is to land on Mars.

Hopefully these results will give ESA (or anyone else) a reason to go visit in the near future.

 

Not too sure about that. Then energy requirement of getting to Venus is vastly higher than that of getting to Mars so payloads will be correspondingly smaller. If you want to "scoop" the atmosphere you may have to decelerate anyway and then accelerate to avoid the inexorable grip of gravity. At least with a lander you only need to worry about airbraking to get down.

 

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13 minutes ago, jnb said:

Not too sure about that. Then energy requirement of getting to Venus is vastly higher than that of getting to Mars so payloads will be correspondingly smaller. If you want to "scoop" the atmosphere you may have to decelerate anyway and then accelerate to avoid the inexorable grip of gravity. At least with a lander you only need to worry about airbraking to get down.

 

Mariner 2 was launched on a relatively small Atlas-Agena rocket, took three months to reach Venus and passed within 21000 miles. If NASA can manage that feat nearly 50 years ago then getting a bit nearer and sampling the atmosphere should be a cinch...

Venus Express launched on a Soyuz-FG in November 2005, arriving in April 2006 managing a pericytherion altitude of 290 miles. Again, easy compared with getting to (and landing on) Mars.

There's much less risk involved than sending another lander to Mars. For less money, whipping a Venusian probe close by could hopefully provide a definitive answer. The probe only has to survive long enough to sample the atmosphere, transmit the data and goodnight Vienna if necessary.

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4 hours ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Mariner 2 was launched on a relatively small Atlas-Agena rocket, took three months to reach Venus and passed within 21000 miles. If NASA can manage that feat nearly 50 years ago then getting a bit nearer and sampling the atmosphere should be a cinch...

Venus Express launched on a Soyuz-FG in November 2005, arriving in April 2006 managing a pericytherion altitude of 290 miles. Again, easy compared with getting to (and landing on) Mars.

There's much less risk involved than sending another lander to Mars. For less money, whipping a Venusian probe close by could hopefully provide a definitive answer. The probe only has to survive long enough to sample the atmosphere, transmit the data and goodnight Vienna if necessary.

If all they hope to do is a destructive dive into Venus atmosphere and sample the atmosphere en route then yes. To get to a useful, stable, low orbit takes more effort. You can to some extent offset that by repeated aero braking but that is destructive on the spacecraft. The problem with atmosphere sampling from a space craft is that there is a choice between destructive, extremely short duration missions, or high altitude passes that will gather far less data from regions that are not those that interest us. The region that seems to host the phosphine is about 60 - 70km up. Passing through that with a spacecraft would allow a single pass of a few minutes through that region.

Though I have to admit I originally assumed you were referring to a sample return mission.

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jnb... No, a sample return mission would be crazy. If there really is an incredibly hardy alien microbial lifeform on Venus, I'd like it to stay there!

Mr Spock, is tossing a half eaten sandwich out of the airlock in the vicinity of another planet, not a violating the Prime Directive? 😉

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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