Readers ask about life on Venus and high-energy cosmic rays

Venusian recollection

Phosphine gas detected in the clouds of Venus could be a sign of life or some strange unknown chemistry, Lisa Grossman reported in “Possible sign of life is found on Venus” (SN: 10/10/20 & 10/24/20, p. 6).

The story brought back memories for reader Bruce Hapke, a professor of planetary science at the University of Pittsburgh.

“In 1975, my colleague Robert M. Nelson and I published the first high-quality, broadband spectrum of the clouds of Venus … which we obtained using the 106-inch telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas,” Hapke wrote. “This spectrum turned out to be identical to that of a form of elemental sulfur, and we suggested that tiny particles of sulfur in the clouds are responsible for their yellowish color. The sulfur comes from volcanic eruptions.”

By then, “Russia had launched several unmanned spacecraft that had successfully landed on the surface of

Read More

Venus Concept to Host Virtual “Aesthetic & Hair Restoration Technology” Event on December 10th

TORONTO, Dec. 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Venus Concept Inc. (“Venus Concept” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:VERO), a global medical aesthetic technology leader, announced today that the Company will host a virtual Aesthetic & Hair Restoration Technology event on Thursday, December 10, 2020. The live webcast of the event will begin at 10:00 a.m. ET and conclude at approximately 12:00 p.m. ET.

During the event, Venus Concept will feature discussions and demonstrations of key technologies driving growth in the global aesthetic and hair restoration markets, including the Company’s current noninvasive fat and body contouring platform, the Venus Bliss, IOT data functionality and recent advancements in the ARTAS® and ARTAS iX® Robotic Hair Restoration Systems.

Venus Concept will also discuss the future of robotic technologies in aesthetic medicine, including a preview of the Company’s initial robotic technology for aesthetic medicine, the Venus RoboCor, which is designed for minimally

Read More

India to launch Shukrayaan Venus mission in 2024 after pandemic delays: reports

India plans to launch a new orbiter to Venus in 2024, a year later than planned, according to media reports.

A view of Venus from NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft based on data captured in 1974.India is now planning to launch its own Venus orbiter in 2024.

© Provided by Space
A view of Venus from NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft based on data captured in 1974.India is now planning to launch its own Venus orbiter in 2024.

The Shukrayaan orbiter will be the first mission to Venus by the India Space Research Organization (ISRO) and will study the planet for four years, according to SpaceNews, which cited a presentation by an ISRO research scientist at a NASA-chartered committee Nov. 10. 


Load Error

ISRO has been soliciting ideas for instruments for a Venus-based mission since at least 2018, according to its website. At the planetary science committee, ISRO’s T. Maria Antonita presented more information about Shukrayaan during a discussion about NASA’s new 10-year plan for planetary science, SpaceNews reported.

Related: India looks beyond the moon to Mars, Venus

Read More

Not finding life on Venus would be disappointing. But it’s good science at work

Repetition, repetition

The truth is, the story of Venus’s putative phosphine is not a simple case of a sensational finding being shot down upon further scrutiny. In fact, the rush of follow-up research is welcomed; science is doing its thing. This is especially true when it comes to the search for extraterrestrial life—after all, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

“I think this is a perfect example of how the scientific process works,” says Paul Byrne, a planetary scientist at North Carolina State University, who also wasn’t involved in the studies. “It certainly makes sense that there would be other studies that would try and get at this question.”

The first preprint paper to cast doubt on the original was actually written in part by Greaves herself. After failing to secure more time on telescopes to verify her team’s initial finding—the pandemic has made telescope access difficult and in some cases

Read More

Gaseous signs of life on Venus aren’t seen in follow-up observations


Computer illustration of a view across the rocky surface of the planet Venus, showing clouds of sulphuric acid obscuring the Sun. Getty Images

This article originally appeared here on

Last month, the science world was stunned and excited when Nature Astronomy published a paper indicating that the atmosphere of Venus appeared to contain trace amounts of phosphine, a gas associated with anaerobic bacteria on Earth that would be near-impossible to produce in any other fashion on Venus. If other scientific studies continued to confirm the report’s findings, that could mean that there is life in Venus’ clouds.

Now, two subsequent scientific investigations question the evidence on whether phosphine — and perhaps life — resides in the Venusian atmosphere. 

Scientists study the Venusian atmosphere by analyzing spectra, or plots of light emanating from the planet, and analyzing the wavelengths. Because different molecules produce different wavelengths when light shines through

Read More

Venus Is Dead! New Analysis Shows Phosphine, A Possible Biosignature, Is Absent

In one of the biggest surprises in the history of planetary science, a September 2020 study announced the presence of phosphine gas in Venus’s cloud decks: a tantalizing hint that could be due to biological processes. Phosphine (PH3), which is chemically similar to ammonia (NH3) except with phosphorus standing in for nitrogen, is only produced naturally on Earth by biochemical processes, but was claimed to exist on Venus at the 20 parts-per-billion level. With two separate observatories

Read More