Why is it valid to ponder if unexplained phosphine on Venus may have an biological source?

What is the significance of finding phosphine on Venus?

Phosphine on Venus generated buzz that the planet, often succinctly touted as a “hellscape,” could somehow harbor life within its acidic clouds. Since that initial claim, other science teams have cast doubt on the reliability of the phosphine detection.

Is there phosphine on Venus?

The reanalysis found that phosphine concentrations in Venus’s atmosphere occasionally peak at five parts per billion. That means levels of the gas might wax and wane over time at different places on the planet, said Greaves — a situation similar to methane spikes appearing on Mars.

How was Venus phosphine formed?

Explosive volcanic eruptions could then spew these phosphides — in the form of volcanic dust — into the atmosphere, where the chemical could react with sulfuric acid to form phosphine.

Do you think life could exist on Venus?

Most astronomers feel that it would be impossible for life to exist on Venus. Today, Venus is a very hostile place. It is a very dry planet with no evidence of water, its surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead, and its atmosphere is so thick that the air pressure on its surface is over 90 times that on Earth.

How is phosphine made biologically?

Phosphine is formed by the action of a strong base or hot water on white phosphorus or by the reaction of water with calcium phosphide (Ca3P2). Phosphine is structurally similar to ammonia (NH3), but phosphine is a much poorer solvent than ammonia and is much less soluble in water.

How does phosphine gas indicate life?

Phosphine gas, on the other hand, is created on Earth by some microorganisms as they digest organic matter, and so it’s considered a possible “biosignature” – which means its detection in the atmospheres of distant planets could be a sign of elementary life.

What is special about phosphine?

DESCRIPTION: Phosphine is used in the semiconductor industry to introduce phosphorus into silicon crystals . It is also used as a fumigant, a polymerization initiator and as an intermediate for the preparation of several flame retardants. Phosphine has an odor of garlic or decaying fish but is odorless when pure.

Where is phosphine found?

In the outer solar system, phosphine is made deep in the interiors of Jupiter and Saturn. Near the giant planets’ cores, the temperatures and pressures are extreme enough to craft the molecule, which then rises through the atmosphere.

What happens on Venus?

Venus has a thick, toxic atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide and it’s perpetually shrouded in thick, yellowish clouds of sulfuric acid that trap heat, causing a runaway greenhouse effect. It’s the hottest planet in our solar system, even though Mercury is closer to the Sun.

How can phosphine be prepared from phosphorus?

Preparation of Phosphine:

Calcium phosphide is mixed with water or dilutes HCl. This results in the formation of phosphine. In the laboratory white phosphorous is heated with concentrated sodium hydroxide solution in an inert atmosphere of CO2 to form phosphine.

What is meant by phosphine?

Definition of phosphine

1 : any of various derivatives of phosphine analogous to amines but weaker as bases. 2 : a colorless poisonous flammable gas PH3 that is a weaker base than ammonia and that is used especially to fumigate stored grain.

Is phosphine organic or inorganic?

Phosphine, also known as [PH3] or fosfano, is a member of the class of compounds known as homogeneous other non-metal compounds. These compounds are inorganic nonmetals in which the largest atom belongs to the class of ‘other nonmetals’.

What happens if you breathe phosphine gas?

Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to phosphine may cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, burning substernal pain, nausea, vomiting, cough, labored breathing, chest tightness, pulmonary irritation, pulmonary edema, and tremors in humans. Convulsions may ensue after an apparent recovery.

How do you spell phosgene?

Phosgene.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phosgene.

What is phosgene used for?

Phosgene is a major industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides. At room temperature (70°F), phosgene is a poisonous gas. With cooling and pressure, phosgene gas can be converted into a liquid so that it can be shipped and stored.

What is the common name of phosgene?

carbonyl chloride

phosgene, also called carbonyl chloride, a colourless, chemically reactive, highly toxic gas having an odour like that of musty hay, used in making organic chemicals, dyestuffs, polycarbonate resins, and isocyanates for making polyurethane resins.