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Science Section => Science General Discussion => Topic started by: drunkenshoe on September 14, 2020, 05:56:50 AM

Title: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: drunkenshoe on September 14, 2020, 05:56:50 AM
http://astrobiology.com/2020/09/phosphine-detected-in-the-atmosphere-of-venus---an-indicator-of-possible-life.html

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(Monday, 14 September) morning at the Royal Astronomical Society. They want you to know its big news. The press release has been issued in advance to some journalists under embargo - but not others (like us). We have not seen the press release. But according to several sources knowledgeable with the details of the announcement (who are not under embargo) phosphine has been discovered in the atmosphere of Venus. Its presence suggests - suggests - some strange chemistry going on since phosphine is something you'd only expect to see if life (as we know it) was involved.

The presence of phosphine is seen by many astrobiologists as a "biosignature" i.e. an indicator of the possible presence of life. The detection was made by the Atacama (ALMA) array located in Chile and the James Clerk Maxwell telescope located in Hawaii. The research team includes members from the University of Manchester, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cardiff University. A paper will appear in the 14 September issue of Nature Astronomy.

From what we're told the researchers have concluded that abiotic mechanisms (i.e. ones that do not involve life) that might produce phosphine cannot account for the large amount that they have detected. The phosphine has been detected in the region within the atmosphere of Venus that is considered by some to be potentially habitable. As to what spin the researchers put on this, we'll have to wait for reporters who have the press release or are allowed to participate in the Zoom press conference thing tomorrow at 15:00 GMT to let us know.

 Keith's 11:19 pm EDT update: This video just appeared online. Apparently someone got it from MIT and reposted it on their site - with a somewhat misleading title.

https://youtu.be/BBDyp06qp1U
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 14, 2020, 10:37:32 AM
Not a nice planet to live on ;-(
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: drunkenshoe on September 14, 2020, 11:25:35 AM
Well, she is not just a toxic bitch after all... She is a beauty. :)
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Blackleaf on September 14, 2020, 01:11:39 PM
I think if there were intelligent life within our own solar system, we would know it by now.

"As to what spin the researchers put on this..."

Researchers don't put a spin on data. The people who grab their research and come to hasty conclusions about it are the ones putting spin on it.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 14, 2020, 02:15:29 PM
I think if there were intelligent life within our own solar system, we would know it by now.

"As to what spin the researchers put on this..."

Researchers don't put a spin on data. The people who grab their research and come to hasty conclusions about it are the ones putting spin on it.

And sometimes researchers over claim too ... but further research will tell.  Will you go to Venus to collect samples?
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Unbeliever on September 14, 2020, 08:05:41 PM
Let's send Trump with his Space Force!

;-)
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 14, 2020, 08:10:21 PM
Let's send Trump with his Space Force!

;-)

This was mentioned in the first Star Trek Classic episode where the Enterprise went to the 20th century.  The captured AF officer, he son would lead the first mission to Venus ;-)  This forced Capt Kirk to return him to Earth.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: drunkenshoe on September 17, 2020, 02:46:44 AM
I think if there were intelligent life within our own solar system, we would know it by now.

Obviously, it's E: NOT about finding intelligent life. It's about discovering any building blocks of any kind of life anywhere. I doubt scientists would be determined with something so specific in this field. The possibility of humans encountering an intelligent life anywhere in the universe is so low, it is science fiction.

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"As to what spin the researchers put on this..."

Researchers don't put a spin on data. The people who grab their research and come to hasty conclusions about it are the ones putting spin on it.

I don't think he means 'putting a spin on data' but choosing who -news vendor, journalist, blogs- to give the information first hand. Science reporting is a very problematic issue. Because ignorant people insist on thinking that scientists are supressing huge kind of information all the time and so we live in hoax(es). If he thought they put a spin on the data and that it meant something ridiculously big like 'intelligent life', he probably wouldn't point out the incorrect title of the video.

Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Mike Cl on September 17, 2020, 09:26:36 AM
I think it all but a forgone conclusion that life exists within our solar system.  Simply look at where life exists on this planet.  It exists everywhere and in almost all environments, including boiling springs, geysers, the lightless bottom of the ocean, within the ice of Antarctica, the driest deserts --everywhere. 
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: drunkenshoe on September 17, 2020, 03:23:21 PM
Correction:

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Obviously, it's E: NOT about finding intelligent life.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: SGOS on September 18, 2020, 09:01:56 AM
Of course we don't know what we don't know, but we can speculate heavily on things we don't know.  Personally, I would bet the farm that the universe is crawling with life.  Maybe not on every planet or every solar system, but in millions of places in every galaxy.  The bottom line is that life is nothing special.  The fact that elements have an affinity to join with other elements is just basic chemistry.  Put oxygen and hydrogen together and add a spark, and you have water.  Not all elements combine with that same orgasmic intensity, but combine they do, and life is nothing more than a fairly complex arrangement of elements into molecules.  Complex?  Certainly, but still unavoidable.  It's just one of many outcomes of chemical interactions.

I read an observation once that sticks with me:  "At some point in the evolution of chemical interactions, a little bag of complex substances twitched, and life began."  That's a paraphrase, but close enough to convey the idea.  Life is just chemistry with special properties, but then all chemical combinations have special properties too.  So what's the big deal about life?  Why is it a bigger deal than quartz or ice?  It's just chemistry.

But, but, but... life has a soul or at least a spirit kind of thingy.  Ugh.. Don't get me started.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 18, 2020, 09:24:07 AM
What is the big deal about life?  Says an elderly man ;-)  Not what a young man says.  OK Boomer.

Entropy defines life more or less.  You have a local area in space and period in time, where things are getting more organized, information is increasing and entropy is decreasing.  A net loss game though, because the global entropy increases anyway, life accelerates decay.  Eventually every biosphere dies from lack of available resource exploitation, accumulation of natural and life induced high entropy.  A geologically active planet and a star shining sufficiently close but not too close, is a great help (see Mars or Venus).  Your corpse is where the entropy you lowered catches up to you.  No free lunch, eat your meal then pay the bill with interest.

So yes, nothing special, if you want to increase entropy locally.

If you aren't following this you don't know any biology

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t06rkOOUa7g

Europa moon of Jupiter is the most interesting, as said in Space 2010 fiction.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Unbeliever on September 19, 2020, 10:01:29 PM
If life is indeed found on Venus, and if it is totally different from Earth life, with absolutely no cross-contamination, that will have tremendous implications for the existence of life in the cosmos. I'm afraid it will say little about intelligence out there, though.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 19, 2020, 10:14:18 PM
If life is indeed found on Venus, and if it is totally different from Earth life, with absolutely no cross-contamination, that will have tremendous implications for the existence of life in the cosmos. I'm afraid it will say little about intelligence out there, though.

Microbes are the most successful life forms.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Unbeliever on September 19, 2020, 10:24:30 PM
I know, we are legion! We are composed of nothing but microbes.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Hydra009 on September 19, 2020, 11:30:52 PM
I think it all but a forgone conclusion that life exists within our solar system.  Simply look at where life exists on this planet.  It exists everywhere and in almost all environments, including boiling springs, geysers, the lightless bottom of the ocean, within the ice of Antarctica, the driest deserts --everywhere.
Yes, but life on earth is just a slo-mo firework of an initial spark of life*.  It's unknown if it originated once or several times.  Finding definite life elsewhere would settle that question.

* the exact definition of life is somewhat blurry.  There could be precursors to life that aren't technically alive, but meet some of the qualifications for life and may eventually give rise to the full criteria of life.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 20, 2020, 10:08:37 AM
I know, we are legion! We are composed of nothing but microbes.

Cooperating Republican microbes, not anarchist oppositional Democrat microbes.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: trdsf on September 21, 2020, 04:40:31 PM
I think it all but a forgone conclusion that life exists within our solar system.  Simply look at where life exists on this planet.  It exists everywhere and in almost all environments, including boiling springs, geysers, the lightless bottom of the ocean, within the ice of Antarctica, the driest deserts --everywhere.
I provisionally agree -- so far everywhere we look that has a reasonable temperature, a solvent, and an energy source has something living in it.

I would be surprised if there weren't simple microbes living in the Martian permafrost, and the phosphine findings on Venus demand further investigation, and the moons Enceladus, Europa, and Titan (with its unexpectedly low amount of acetylene) also have reasonable prospects.  I would hope for something not based on DNA, or at least utilizing different base pairs or a different geometry (A- (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-DNA) or Z-DNA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-DNA), for example, or a different sugar backbone).
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Mr.Obvious on September 23, 2020, 03:53:34 PM
I think if there were intelligent life within our own solar system, we would know it by now.

If it is intelligent enough, we probably wouldn't.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 23, 2020, 04:23:53 PM
If it is intelligent enough, we probably wouldn't.

Like the toad hiding from the hawk in Rango ... just don't have a chameleon blow your cover!
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Cassia on September 23, 2020, 04:33:26 PM
Chemosynthetic life thriving on "toxic" hydrogen sulfide from hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean could be the oldest forms of life on earth. The biomass around these vents is super dense. If the sun was to disappear today, these lifeforms could thrive indefinitely as long as there is oxygen. We just don't know how many "Goldilocks" environments are possible or how many basis forms of animation may exist.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 23, 2020, 05:23:52 PM
Per Dr Kellis, free RNA forms first, later with a lipid capsule to enhance the chemistry (biological test tube/petri dish).  Proteins were invented by RNA, to so something more interesting (more structure) can happen.  DNA was invented by these non-nuclear cells, to achieve superior production and reproduction.  Innovation, created by mutation, culled by evolution in a competitive and hostile environment.  And it seems that early life avoided the difficult environment of the surface world (so under water or underground).  Only later was the surface conquered, and the modern atmosphere created by all the bio-slime.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: trdsf on September 23, 2020, 07:12:31 PM
Chemosynthetic life thriving on "toxic" hydrogen sulfide from hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean could be the oldest forms of life on earth. The biomass around these vents is super dense. If the sun was to disappear today, these lifeforms could thrive indefinitely as long as there is oxygen. We just don't know how many "Goldilocks" environments are possible or how many basis forms of animation may exist.
I think my favorite scientific daydream is that somewhere there's a relict population of trilobites lurking around an as-yet undiscovered sea vent... that would be awesome.  :)
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Cassia on September 23, 2020, 07:58:09 PM
That would be cool. So many species gone, hard to believe a few didn't make it. We have a museum quality example. In fact, we like fossils so much we tiled the kitchen with a couple dozen fossils, many from Wyoming's green river formation. Visitors usually assume they are fake for some reason.
(https://i.ibb.co/yn69ffq/F2.jpg)

(https://i.ibb.co/BPLP3wT/F-1.jpg)[/size][/color]
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 23, 2020, 08:54:17 PM
I had one of those.  But not a shrimp.  Got garlic butter? ;-)
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Unbeliever on September 23, 2020, 10:49:10 PM
If life is found on Venus, and it is found to be totally different from Earth life, having come about through a completely different evolutionary pathway, it will have enormous implications for the possibility of life elsewhere, in our system and beyond. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what it is!
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 24, 2020, 02:54:10 AM
If life is found on Venus, and it is found to be totally different from Earth life, having come about through a completely different evolutionary pathway, it will have enormous implications for the possibility of life elsewhere, in our system and beyond. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what it is!

Venusian life will be acidic yet sexy ;-)
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: drunkenshoe on September 24, 2020, 04:42:07 AM
Yes, but life on earth is just a slo-mo firework of an initial spark of life*.  It's unknown if it originated once or several times.  Finding definite life elsewhere would settle that question.

I think, just the continental shift cycle of the planet would be enough to do that. We have passed through 5? Not sure and lazy.

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* the exact definition of life is somewhat blurry.  There could be precursors to life that aren't technically alive, but meet some of the qualifications for life and may eventually give rise to the full criteria of life.

We humans would like to think about life in terms of the bodyplan -so the intelligence- our own phyla produced. I think it is almost impossible for us to imagine an 'intelligent' organism without opposable thumbs. I doubt if we can recognise it.

Think about the 'aliens' pictured in sci-fi movies. None of it is alien, naturally, because it is human imagination. It's either developed from arthropods or tetrapods visually or some sort of mixed image produced from here and there. Xenomorphs... They're all distant relatives. So the idea is that there is a universal formula for a bodyplan based on ours? MYEH. LOL Pfffft. Yeah, Europe Report is a very underrated movie, imo.

The latest one. Look at this. This is not an alien. It has no alien features. It has the general bodyplan produced in Cambrian in the end, doesn't it? It's 'alien' because it is scary, it is scary because it is trying survive, so it attacks and eats humans who put him in a confined space, an environment where only natural resource is human. (Which as far as I understand is the main point of the movie. They're trying to teach to kids that fact. I liked the movie. Good, brief definition of life.)

(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/villains/images/0/08/Life_alien_monster_calvin_vault_3-790x593.png/revision/latest?cb=20191014191422)

Lol, the whole thing reminds me what Terry Pratchett wrote about the elves in Lords and Ladies: "If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That's what people remember." I love frogs, they're adorable. But the point stands. I bet cats are nastier than Calvins as sole planet residents and we obviously beat them all and we're not even apex predators. 

Humans are in general very obssessed with extra terrestrial life, esp. intelligent life but in the end, while it is very unlikely they will encounter any in their species life time, I doubt if they would recognise it, if they had.

First things first, humans wouldn't respect a species shorter-smaller than them, doesn't matter how developed or smart they're. Humans wouldn't accept or respect any species, if they didn't think they're equal or superior than them in some way which is very problematic, if you discuss human intelligence and development or what we think is intelligent.

Are humans intelligent enough to recognise intelligent life? Let me rephrase that. Are humans developed enough as species to recognise intelligent, advanced life?
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 24, 2020, 01:42:43 PM
French Revolution people feed themselves to predator animals but apologize first.  I love animals, but not when they are eating people!
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: drunkenshoe on September 25, 2020, 02:35:24 AM
That would be cool. So many species gone, hard to believe a few didn't make it. We have a museum quality example. In fact, we like fossils so much we tiled the kitchen with a couple dozen fossils, many from Wyoming's green river formation. Visitors usually assume they are fake for some reason.

Oh nice. With fossils people are almost always like that, tile or not. I have a few but they're in a box. I even named them too,lol. A standard, tiny bent trilobite, an amonite and 3 tiny fishes from a lake in Wyoming. 

Anyway, whenever I show them to someone, the look on their face is pretty funny and their first question is 'how do you know they're real?' LOL I try explain that they're like tons of them, so it is not a big deal and that they can be bought from Science museums or known collectors and that trying to make the replicas would cost more. 

But it is almost always the first reaction.
Title: Re: Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?
Post by: Baruch on September 25, 2020, 01:05:06 PM
Oh nice. With fossils people are almost always like that, tile or not. I have a few but they're in a box. I even named them too,lol. A standard, tiny bent trilobite, an amonite and 3 tiny fishes from a lake in Wyoming. 

Anyway, whenever I show them to someone, the look on their face is pretty funny and their first question is 'how do you know they're real?' LOL I try explain that they're like tons of them, so it is not a big deal and that they can be bought from Science museums or known collectors and that trying to make the replicas would cost more. 

But it is almost always the first reaction.

Pop Buddhists don't exist outside of "now", the past, including the fossilize past, isn't real.  The same applies to Pop Christianity (founded by BuJews).