Astronomy, Pythagorean Astronomy

Pythagorean Astronomy: Revisiting Venus

Artist’s impression of molecules in the atmosphere of Venus. Image credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser / L. Calçada & NASA / JPL / Caltech

Last September, a team of scientists led by Professor Jane Greaves announced the detection of a rare gas, phosphine, in the atmosphere of Venus. With no plausible explanations of how it could be there, one possibility remaining was that it was being produced by some sort of microbial life floating in the cloud decks of Venus.

The idea was seen as preposterous by some, and others even questioned the validity of the detection itself. This month, Jane gives an update on the process of double and triple checking their result, and what the latest is on this exciting process of scientific discovery. It even features 1970s spacecraft! And could there possibly be a spacecraft sent to Venus in just a few years?

If you want to know more about the detection of phosphine on Venus, you can listen to the original episode.

An extended edition of an original broadcast on 29th April 2021 as part of Pythagoras’ Trousers on Radio Cardiff.