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Possible life on Venus keeps UAE stargazers busy

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on September 16, 2020 | Last updated on September 16, 2020 at 06.27 am
Possible life, Venus, keeps, UAE, stargazers, busy

(Alamy Image)

An astronomy enthusiast, Huma Khan, said these findings could lead to "bigger inventions".

The sign of life detected in Venus has opened a whole new world of insights for astronomy groups and enthusiasts in the UAE, keeping them busy as details about the new discovery came trickling in.

Venus, named after the Roman goddess of beauty, has long been overlooked in scientists' search for extraterrestrial life. Its surface temperature is at around 464 degrees Celsius, hot enough to melt lead, and it is wrapped by clouds that contain droplets of sulfuric acid.

Hasan Al Hariri, CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG), said: "This discovery is a bit peculiar and scientists are quite excited over these findings of phosphine on Venus. It's a gas that is produced by bacteria thriving in oxygen-starved environments. The details would be much clearer if there is a satellite or when we get more data and information about its origin, either through a spacecraft or from other orbiting satellites around the planet."

An astronomy enthusiast, Huma Khan, said these findings could lead to "bigger inventions". "On Earth, phosphine can be a sign of death, on Venus it is a sign of life for us. Discoveries like this leads to more possible theories. We have to look closer."

Habiba, another enthusiast, added: "It is crazy to think that there might be lifeforms completely different from anything on Earth. There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy and there are over 100 billion different galaxies. Life is somewhere out there, and it might be closer than we thought."

The astronomers, who have shared the discovery, haven't collected specimens of Venusian microbes, nor have they taken any pictures. But with powerful telescopes, they have reportedly detected phosphine in the planet's atmosphere.

After much analysis, the scientists affirm that "something now alive" could be the only explanation for the chemical's source.

Thirteen-year-old UAE student Mishal Faraz said who knows, the life forms that might have thrived in Venus could have had an entirely different living requirement.

"For so many years now, we've been hearing that the only planet which has the faintest probability of having life is Mars. Venus was always ruled out because of its emperatures but now, this news is exciting. It will compel researchers to rethink and consider the possibility that for a planet to have life, it's not important that it should have factors similar to Earth.

"Maybe what we consider too hot is the right temperature for the kind of lifeforms that exist there," Faraz said.

Shaneer N Siddiqui, project coordinator of the DAG, said: "Any discovery always gives us hope for something new, better or unique. These findings of rare molecules in Venus cloud is not a normal phenomenon outside the earth. We may get something new with this lead." 


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