‘Measurements of trace gases in planetary atmospheres help us explore chemical conditions different to those on Earth. Our nearest neighbour, Venus, has cloud decks that are temperate but hyperacidic. Here we report the apparent presence of phosphine (PH3) gas in Venus’s atmosphere, where any phosphorus should be in oxidized forms.‘
Despite being a near twin in size to Earth-mass and gravity, Venus spins too slowly for an electro-magnetic dynamo to create a EM field, enveloping and protecting the planet. With ninety times the surface pressure of Earth, and temperatures up to nine-hundred degrees Farenheit, to say it would be hellish would be an understatement.
Yet, it once harbored liquid water oceans, and maybe, just maybe, some kind of microbial life has migrated up into the fast-moving clouds. Click through for a visual.
Or listen to a podcast while you work, walk, or clean:
Addition: Anton Petrov sheds some light:
Next to Enceledaus, a tiny moon being warped by Saturn, this is probably the most important indicator of extra-terrestial life going right now:
Why was Mt. Sharp chosen for the Curiosity Rover landing site, and what about those rounded stones that it photographed, indicative of long ago ankle to hip-deep water? If the Martian surface is likely so full of perchlorates and life-hostile, irradiated soil, what are the chances of pockets of microbial life below ground?
The discussion later moves to Venus, Jovian moon Io, and the Chinese lander on the dark side of the moon in the final minutes:
Event Horizon discussion with Emily Lakdawalla.
Imagine sub-freezing temperatures and free radicals bombarding the near atmosphere-less Martian surface (oxidized and rusted red, barren), but below the Martian surface lurk big blocks of briny ice; ice with freezing cold, incredibly salty water around them and maybe just enough O2 to support some microbes.
‘Due to the scarcity of O2 in the modern Martian atmosphere, Mars has been assumed to be incapable of producing environments with sufficiently large concentrations of O2 to support aerobic respiration. Here, we present a thermodynamic framework for the solubility of O2 in brines under Martian near-surface conditions. We find that modern Mars can support liquid environments with dissolved O2 values ranging from ~2.5 × 10−6 mol m−3 to 2 mol m−3 across the planet, with particularly high concentrations in polar regions because of lower temperatures at higher latitudes promoting O2 entry into brines’