Could there be life on Venus?

John Landecker

This May 2016 photo provided by researcher Jane Greaves shows the planet Venus, seen from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Akatsuki probe. A report released on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 says astronomers have found a potential signal of life high in the atmosphere of our nearest neighboring planet. (J. Greaves/Cardiff University/JAXA via AP)

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Michelle Nichols, Director of Public Observing from the Adler Planetarium, joins John Landecker to discuss the announcement that a science team made about a detection of the molecule phosphine. Calling all Breaking Bad fans… Scientists have spotted something unexpected in the cloud decks of Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor.  Nichols says phosphine is produced by bacteria that doesn’t utilize oxygen. No one is claiming it’s aliens just yet, but some sort of alien microorganism is on the list of potential explanations for why a chemical that shouldn’t be floating around above the planet has been observed there for the first time.

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