Strange chemical in clouds of Venus defies explanation. Could it be a sign of life?

Discovering life beyond Earth may well start with a sniff, a whiff of some chemical that scientists struggle to explain without invoking a strange, shadowy microbe. That first step has happened on Mars and on a few distant moons, and now, scientists suggest, on Venus

A team of astronomers announced today (Sept. 14) that it has spotted the chemical fingerprint of phosphine, which scientists have suggested may be tied to life, in the clouds of the second rock from the sun. The finding is no guarantee that life exists on Venus, but researchers say it’s a tantalizing find that emphasizes the need for more missions to the hot, gassy planet next door.

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