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New Study Finds Phosphine Presence in Venus due to Volcanoes

A new study claims that Phosphine gas on Venus may be produced by Volcanoes and not microbes as previously thought. Researchers from Cornell University in New York state studied data from space telescopes in Hawaii and Chile.

Based on their analysis, they argue that the chemical fingerprint of phosphine is a geological signature that shows evidence of explosive Volcanoes on Venus. Phosphine, also called hydrogen phosphide, is defined as a colourless, flammable and extremely toxic gas with a nasty garlic-like odour.Last September, a team of researchers led by a Cardiff University expert reported that they’d detected trace amounts of the gas in the planet’s acidic clouds.

Phosphine is often released by microorganisms on Earth that don’t use oxygen to breathe, which led the researchers at the time to speculate Venus could be harbouring life.The report was published in the September issue of Nature Astronomy. It was labelled as one of the great scientific discoveries of 2020 by news outlets but since its release, there have been doubts about the findings.

Jonathan Lunine, a professor of physical sciences and chair of the astronomy department at Cornell and author of this new study said that phosphine is not telling us about the biology of Venus. It is telling us about geology. Science is pointing to a planet that has active explosive Volcanoes today or in the very recent past. Venus is a terrestrial planet similar in size to Earth, but it has a surface temperature of around 867°F (464°C) and a pressure 92 times that of our home planet.Small amounts of phosphides may be brought to the surface from deep mantle sources by volcanism, ejected into the atmosphere as volcanic dust during explosive eruptions.

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