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Astronomers and researchers have been searching for life on other celestial bodies. A of scientists earlier pointed to the possibility of life in the clouds of Venus. In 2020, scientists revealed that they had discovered phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus, sparking speculation about the possibility of life on Venus. Other scientists have also explored the chemical composition of the Evening Star and have suggested that life on Venus may have developed a sulfur-based metabolism. However, that claim was rejected in a new analysis, which showed it failed to find any signs of life in its Earth neighbor.

“Life is very good at strange chemistry, so we've been investigating whether there's a way to make life a potential explanation for what we see,” said astronomer and chemist Paul Rimmer.

According to , the chemical composition of Venus is very different from that of Earth. Its atmosphere is rich in sulphur, which can reach 1,00,000 times the concentration on Earth. In the latest study published in Nature Communications, a team of researchers led by astronomer Sean Jordan of the University of Cambridge investigated chemical on Venus to unravel the mystery of life on Venus.

According to Jordon, they looked for sulfur-containing food in the Venusian atmosphere because it is the primary energy source available. “If these foods are consumed by life, we should see evidence of loss and gain in the atmosphere through specific chemicals,” Jordan added.

While sulfur is produced on Earth through volcanoes, it is likely to be produced on Venus in the same way.

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In the new study, the researchers attempted to simulate chemical reactions and concluded that this sulfur-metabolizing life could lead to the consumption of sulfur dioxide, as observed on Earth. However, the reaction also produces other undiscovered compounds.

“If the levels of sulfur dioxide we see on Venus were caused by life, then it would also destroy everything we know about Venus' atmospheric chemistry,” Jordan said.

Even if the lack of sulfur dioxide in Venus' upper atmosphere isn't caused by life, it remains to be tested, Jordan added. “There's a lot of weird chemistry to follow up,” he said.

By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...