As we’re mired in our day-to-day parochial concerns, it’s nice to be reminded that there are people still working on the big picture stuff. Jennifer Chu, writing in SciTech Daily, has an article about likely discovery of life on Venus. Scientists have discovered phosphine in a layer of Venus’ atmosphere that is the most likely to be hospitable to life. Venus has an atmosphere that is really, really inhospitable to life — extreme heat and acidic clouds, among other things. But, there is apparently a pocket between 48 and 60 kilometers above the surface, where temperatures range from 30 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If Venus had life, that’s where it would be expected. And that’s where they’ve detected phosphine.
Phosphine is associated with biological processes, and scientists have ruled out the non-biological explanations they can think of. So, their conclusion is that this probably means there is life of some kind in the air of the (relatively) hospitable pocket of Venus.
Extra-terrestrial life seems like kind of a big find. Josh Claybourn, writing on Facebook, suggested that the two most likely scenarios for the origin of that life would be that something hitched a ride on the Soviet probes to Venus 50 years ago or that something ejected from earth (debris from a meteor strike) made its way to Venus.