An entire scientific world boils with excitement, hoping to find alien organisms in a totally unexpected place: within the hellish environment of Venus. Thanks to a new study that had Sara Seager as co-author, the toxic gas phosphine was found within the atmosphere of Venus. Since one of the ways this gas is produced on Earth is through microorganisms, a reasonable bet is that it’s produced on our neighboring planet in the same way.
Since we shouldn’t open the champagne just yet and celebrate the discovery of alien life forms living right ‘next-door’ to us, scientists are preparing to deploy a space probe on Venus to find out for sure. There could be some other unknown explanation for why phosphine gas emerges on Venus, and scientists are just not aware yet.
BepiColombo gets ready for action
BepiColombo is the space probe in question, and it will approach Venus for a close examination in August 2021, at only 550km away from the surface. We’re talking about a Mercury-bound probe that will slingshot past Venus this October. The MERTIS (Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer) instrument is by far BepiColombo’s favorite toy. The gear is designed to study the surface of Mercury, and it could be able to take a closer look at Venus’ atmosphere so that it will see much better what’s going on there.
Johannes Benkhoff from ESA and BepiColombo’s Project Scientist, declared:
We possibly could detect phosphine
But we do not know if our instrument is sensitive enough.
The presence of the phosphine gas has to be confirmed by the space probe in order for the idea of aliens living on Venus to remain active. But even if the result is positive, the extraterrestrial life forms from Venus will be far from anything we’ve ever seen in sci-fi movies, and there’s no way they could possess intelligence.