Phosphine Gas in the Cloud Decks of Venus

Can the existence of PH3 on Venus indicate life?

5 mins
What is it about?



Science and Maths

Studying the atmosphere of the planets in the Solar system can have many applications. Not only does it simply provide information about the features of each planet and what chemical processes take place there, but it can also help us understand the geochemistry of our own planet. Another application of such atmosphere analysis is the search for the possible presence of life outside the Earth. There are multiple indicators of the presence of organic forms or living organisms. Most well known are the traces of carbon compounds or traces of water. Another useful indicator is the phosphine gas, PH3. This gas is usually produced by certain microorganisms, and can rarely be produced without their presence. It can also be quickly destroyed on the planet’s surface. It was previously found outside Earth in the deep layers of atmospheres of giant planets, where very high pressures are present.