Heard about the discovery of life on Venus? Well it turns out that Carl Sagan predicted that we would someday discover life there.
They say that some kind of gas has been discovered in Venus’ atmosphere. Well apparently this type of gas can only be produced by a living organism of some kind so there must have at some time been life on Venus. Not little green men or higher life forms; it could just have been some form a really really small plant life. And that life, whatever it was, ceased to exist back when the Earth was still in diapers.
The gas was discovered by really super powerful telescopes in Hawaii. It is phosphine, a deadly gas that on Earth can only be found where there is a presence of life in some form.
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But before you get too excited, calm down because not everybody agrees with the new claims. Many scientists say that the gases found could have come from sources other than some kind of life form.
So where does Carl Sagan fit into all of this. Well back in 1961 he hypothesized that there could very well be life on Venus, even with its 800 degree temperatures. So many whatever caused the gas is still there.
Sagan wrote that, “the planet Venus is enshrouded by clouds which prevent telescopic examination of its surface. In the absence of direct observations, reasons have been adduced for proposing a variety of differing and mutually inconsistent surface conditions.”
So we may simply be unable to detect life there.
The gas was discovered in Venus’ clouds. And Carl Sagan also wrote, “If small amounts of minerals are stirred up to the clouds from the surface, it is by no means difficult to imagine indigenous biology in the clouds of Venus. While the surface conditions of Venus make the hypothesis of life there implausible, the clouds of Venus are a different story altogether.”
Carl Sagan was born in Brooklyn in 1934. His father was a Jewish immigrant from Ukraine and his mother, also Jewish, was from New York. He was most famous for his television series Cosmos which aired on PBS back in the 1970s and 80s. The show made science and physics understandable to the general population including people like this author.