Life on Venus discovered?

Venus is not at the top of the list when thinking of life elsewhere in our Solar System. Compared to Earth, it’s a hellhole. With 96% of the atmosphere made up of carbon dioxide, it has experienced a runaway greenhouse effect. Surface temperatures are like those in a pizza oven – over 400C. Space probes that have landed on the planet have survived just minutes before breaking down.

Recently phosphine has been detected in the Venus atmosphere, 50 km above the surface. On Earth, phosphine is associated with life, with microbes living in the guts of animals like penguins, or in oxygen-poor environments such as swamps.

It’s an extraordinary possibility – the idea that living organisms are floating in the clouds of Planet Venus.