Researchers now believe that unexplained ammonia found floating in the clouds of Venus could be evidence of potential alien lifeforms.
Scientists have said that the gas particles are 'very unlike anything we've seen.' Some experts are claiming that the most plausible explanation for the gas is biological.
The colourless gas could well be a by-product of a living organism — or alien life — existing on the planet, once believed to be completely inhospitable.
As Venus is scorching hot, scientists have always believed organisms cannot exist there.
However the discovery of ammonia could prove that life has been existing on the planet all this time.
Is there alien life on Venus?
Some scientists believe that the unexplained presence of ammonia in the clouds of Venus can only be evidence of living organisms.
On our planet, ammonia is often a left-over waste product of aquatic organisms.
In a new study conducted by researchers at Cardiff University, Cambridge University and MIT, experts made some revelations about the ammonia found in the clouds.
They discovered that the ammonia would set of a chain of chemical reactions in Venus' cloud, neutralising the surrounding droplets of sulfuric acid.
This chemical reaction would mean the clouds would become less acidic, making them tolerable for biological life.
“We know that life can grow in acid environments on Earth, but nothing as acid as the clouds of Venus were believed to be.
"But if something is making ammonia in the clouds, then that will neutralize some of the droplets, making them potentially more habitable,” said study co-author Dr William Bains.
“Ammonia shouldn’t be on Venus,” said another study co-author Professor Sara Seager.
“Any gas that doesn’t belong in the context of its environment is automatically suspicious for being made by life.”
However the experts remain sceptical that life can exist in the harsh clouds of Venus.
“There are many other challenges for life to overcome if it is to live in the clouds of Venus,” said Dr Bains.
“There is almost no water there for a start, and all life that we know of needs water. But if life is there, then neutralising the acid will make the clouds just a bit more habitable than we thought.”
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We've known that the clouds of Venus have contained some confusing and unexplained chemicals for decades now.
The patch of space is known to contain oxygen, water vapour and sulphur dioxide.
In 2023, scientists are planning to launch the Venus Life Finder mission.
This study will help researchers investigate the mysterious cloud particles that surround the hot planet.
However it will be a while before we can detect alien life by studying the strange gases.
Sending hardware to Venus is tough, and the samples would take years to return to earth.
With this in mind, we could discover the potential for live on Venus some time before 2040.
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