Recently a biomarker, or potential indicator of life, was found high in the atmosphere of Venus. After being dismissed as too hot for life, now Venus is in the “cross-hairs” of numerous investigators as a potential candidate for life, microbial life at least. Actually, Carl Sagan and others had suggested, decades ago, a potential life-supporting area high in Venus’ atmosphere, far from the high heat and pressure at the surface. Possible explanations for how such life could survive have been put forward over the years, but no actual evidence discovered until now. Unexplainable (by any known abiotic processes) levels of phosphine (PH3) have been detected.spectroscopicly. Phosphine is a phosphorous analog of ammonia (NH3). Poisonous to us, it could be a possible waste product of microscopic life. Chemical environments are sometimes described as reducing or oxidizing. These are opposite conditions and components of one will be consumed by the other. The atmosphere of Venus is highly oxidized (CO2, SO2, SO3, etc.), but phosphine is reduced (H not O) and should not exist unless maintained by a living source.
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