I am one of the scientists studying phosphine in the clouds of Venus. We wonder if this might be the first signs of life on another planet. The scientific debate is growing as we wonder.
See this article from @Paul.B.Rimmer , one of the scientists that first reported phosphine in the cloud decks of Venus. (see here: Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus | Nature Astronomy). Now he isn’t so sure the phosphine is in the clouds any more.
It was always a longshot hypothesis, but really interesting nonetheless.
More to the story, just on arXiv: [2108.08393] Low Levels of Sulphur Dioxide Contamination of Phosphine Spectra from Venus' Atmosphere
Further arguments that, whatever the 1mm feature is, it’s probably not sulfur dioxide.
Doesn’t answer why or how phosphine could be that far above the clouds. Seems to defy what we know about its photochemistry.
Maybe it’s something else? Time (and future observations) will tell.
I think it’s really great to see open debate about the scientific details like this. Science really is driven by back and forth like this.
How have your colleagues felt about your assessment? Do they agree with you? Or do they disagree?
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