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jnb

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It's all very exciting stuff but apparently phosphine also occurs in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. There was no big fuss about them having it. If it can occur non-biologically on those planets, why not Venus too?

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I think the point was (it eluded me too at first! lol) production of Phoshine is
energetically unfavourable... it's "endothermic". It CAN take place in (v.Hot!)
interiors of the gas giants. The molecules form free radicles... whizz around
*quickly* & collide... may join up give the (Phosphine) product. Otherwise
it would need a "biological catalyst" (e.g. life) to enable such a process. 🙃

Edited by Macavity

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Couldn't a drone like craft be used to fly through Venuses atmosphere to sample the molecular structure. Assuming you could make one that would withstand the acid cloud's?

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7 minutes ago, Nigella Bryant said:

Couldn't a drone like craft be used to fly through Venuses atmosphere to sample the molecular structure. Assuming you could make one that would withstand the acid cloud's?

Great idea! I did see some interesting thoughts on that general theme...
Maybe best to avoid Jupiter & Saturn (Intense magnetic fields and nasty
induced electric currents?!?). But, as an alternative, float serenely in the
Uranian/Neptunian Methane clouds. Just don't strike that match... Oops! 🙀

It is hard to envisage a planet / moon where there are NO downsides?!? 😅

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5 hours ago, Macavity said:

Great idea! I did see some interesting thoughts on that general theme...
Maybe best to avoid Jupiter & Saturn (Intense magnetic fields and nasty
induced electric currents?!?). But, as an alternative, float serenely in the
Uranian/Neptunian Methane clouds. Just don't strike that match... Oops! 🙀

It is hard to envisage a planet / moon where there are NO downsides?!? 😅

Feel free to strike as many matches as you want ... no free oxygen!

 

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Just now, jnb said:

Feel free to strike as many matches as you want ... no free oxygen!

 

Except in your spacecraft maybe? 🤔 A kind of "role-reversal" combustion? 🥳
The authors of the idea noted that - Didn't immediately STRIKE me? <gets coat>

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Our eccentric chemistry teacher nearly asphyxiated the whole class by demonstrating in an a racked lecture theatre that you could burn O2 in NH3. (Fume cupboards were for wimps.)

Only opening the fire doors released our paralysed respiratory tracts. 

Regards Andrew 

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58 minutes ago, andrew s said:

Our eccentric chemistry teacher nearly asphyxiated the whole class by demonstrating in an a racked lecture theatre that you could burn O2 in NH3. (Fume cupboards were for wimps.)

Reminds me of one incident in a chemistry lesson where the teacher carelessly neglected to replace the lid on a jar (one of those big sweetshop size jars) almost full of magnesium ribbon before doing an experiment that involved burning a piece of said ribbon.  Somehow a piece of burning material must have got into the jar and the whole lot went up.  Had to evacuate half the chemistry block and all the boys changing/locker rooms for that one.  There was smoke everywhere...

James

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Phosphine is probably a good thing even if it is not associated with life on Venus. Phosphorous is quite a rare element, but may be essential to the sort of life that can use common chemistry and its lack of abundance is one suggested "solution" to the Fermi Paradox. So finding its available elsewhere even from a non-living source helps the odds for life, a little.

In terms of related chemical stories - I bought a Victorian house some years ago and on peeling off the wall-paper found a green wash on the plasterwork. This was apparently an arsenical wash intended to prevent mould growing on wall-paper paste etc. I then discovered that the bugs had a niftly way of getting rid of the arsenic - converting it into arsine gas (the analog of phosphine).

Edited by nameunknown

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17 minutes ago, nameunknown said:

Phosphine is probably a good thing even if it is not associated with life on Venus. Phosphorous is quite a rare element, but may be essential to the sort of life that can use common chemistry and its lack of abundance is one suggested "solution" to the Fermi Paradox. So finding its available elsewhere even from a non-living source helps the odds for life, a little.

In terms of related chemical stories - I bought a Victorian house some years ago and on peeling off the wall-paper found a green wash on the plasterwork. This was apparently an arsenical wash intended to prevent mould growing on wall-paper paste etc. I then discovered that the bugs had a niftly way of getting rid of the arsenic - converting it into arsine gas (the analog of phosphine).

It has been proposed that arsine given off from wallpaper ultimately did for Napoleon. 

Or were those Bugs just arsine about?

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