At the find of the rare molecule of phosphine (PH3) in the atmosphere of venus, there have been doubts since a while, two new analyzes now deepen these. Thus, a group of researchers and researchers has investigated the spectra independent of it and found no traces of the molecule. Another group explains the first trail not on phosphine, but a different gas that occurs on venus very often.
Both works were now published in the trade magazine astrophysical journal letters, reports the US science magazine nature. Accordingly, however, the studies can not be completely noticed that the evidence of life on venus were discovered.
Traces of life?
This had a scientist at september 2020 concerted and thus gained worldwide attention. The group of astronomers had therefore found there with monophosphane or phosphine (PH3) a molecule which occurs on earth only as an industrial product, or produced by microbes. First tracks they had found with the james clerk maxwell telescope (JCMT), they were able to confirm the with the atacama large millimeter / submillimeter array (alma) of the european southern space (ESO). The researchers had therefore excluded a whole series of alternative explanation and decided that it is not a confirmation of life on our neighboring planet.
After the original publication had already given a controversy, later doubts came to the data of the giant teleskops alma. They were then repeated by the responsible persons, reprocessed again and published a second time. During the authors of the first study, the track of the phosphine also wanted to have found in this second record – only much more weak – now contradicts a group around alex akins from the jet propulsion laboratory of NASA: "we could not see you [the spectral line] just not", quotes him nature. Accordingly, this is the first independent analysis of the new alma data.
The second contradiction comes from a research group under the direction of victoria meadows of university of washington. Although they have observed a spectral line that is at the correct frequency, but they come to a different conclusion about their origin. Accordingly, where not only phosphine has left his track, but also sulfur dioxide (SO2). This is common in the venus atmosphere and is not an indication of life. When they sought the spectral line of this gas into the alma data, they did not find them where they were expected to be expected. This suggests that the track found is not the result of phosphine in a high of 50 to 60 kilometers, but also of sulfur dioxide in high of 80 kilometers.
Waiting for new data
The contradiction against the tuning detection of phosphine comes from different directions, but not necessarily contradict. Already in the original data, other researchers from the netherlands had no "statistically significant detection of phosphine" can be found. The new analyzes were not clearly decepted the original assertion, the authors: "there is enough scope", explains about meadows. Withdrawingly, the dispute decided only with new observations and that they are already scheduled for the coming months.