A few days back, researchers at MIT revealed that phosphine is found in abundance in the clouds of Venus. They also suggested, at a press briefing hosted by The Royal Astronomical Society, that it could be proof of microbes living on the hostile environment, as know it. The discovery of phosphine suggests two things; modern science does not know much about the chemistry of phosphine or the spark of life has been found on Earth's nearest planetary neighbor.
Will Life Survive on Venus?
The discovery of phosphine on the Venusian atmosphere has literally shocked space scientists, as until now, they believe that the hostile environment in Venus is not suited to host any kind of life. According to NASA, the temperature in Venus is 460 degrees Celsius, which means life, as we know on earth, could not survive the harsh Venusian conditions.
Even Venera probes sent to Venus by the Soviet Union in the 1980s could not survive the intense heat and pressure on the planet. Even though the surface of Venus is not suitable to host life, the Venusian atmosphere is a likely place that could offer a living habitat to alien microbes.
At an altitude of 50 kilometers, the Venusian atmosphere shares startling similarities to Earth, and the conditions are pretty much suitable to host alien life in microbial forms. The average temperature in the atmosphere of Venus is cool enough that could help the formation of liquid water.
How Venusian Clouds Can Be Explored
It was in 2015 that NASA initially proposed the idea of sending inflatable vehicles and even building a permanent outpost in the clouds. Named the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC), this proposed mission aimed at inserting human crews into the temperate layers of the Venusian atmosphere, which will help them to work for a certain period of time, and later returning to the orbit safely.
However, many experts believe that this project could never be materialized in the near future, especially considering the budget constraints faced by NASA. Moreover, the United States space agency will be busy accomplishing their Mars colonization mission in the coming years.
In the meantime, Peter Beck, the CEO of Rocket Lab, has also announced his plans to launch a small probe to Venus before 2023. The mission will be hunting to detect traces of microbial life on the Venusian atmosphere.
Even though there are possibilities of alien life thriving on Venus, humans could never step their foot on the Venusian surface due to the hostile conditions. However, space scientists can think about a floating lab in the Venusian atmosphere, but that could be a really challenging task considering the current technological advancement we have.