Maat Mons, a large volcano on Venus, is displayed in this 1991 simulated-color radar image from NASAs Magellan spacecraft objective. Credit: NASA/JPL
Traces of the gas phosphine indicate volcanic activity on Venus, according to brand-new research study from Cornell University.
Last fall, scientists exposed that phosphine was found in trace amounts in the worlds upper atmosphere. That discovery promised the slim possibility that phosphine acts as a biological signature for the hot, toxic planet.
Now Cornell researchers say the chemical finger print supports a different and crucial scientific find: a geological signature, revealing evidence of explosive volcanoes on the mystical planet.
” The phosphine is not telling us about the biology of Venus,” said Jonathan Lunine, professor of physical sciences and chair of the astronomy department at Cornell. “Its telling us about the geology. Science is pointing to a world that has active explosive volcanism today or in the very current past.”
” The phosphine is not telling us about the biology of Venus,” stated Jonathan Lunine, professor of physical sciences and chair of the astronomy department at Cornell. “Its informing us about the geology. Science is pointing to a planet that has active explosive volcanism today or in the extremely recent past.”
Lunine and Ngoc Truong, a doctoral prospect in geology, authored the study, “Volcanically Extruded Phosphides as an Abiotic Source of Venusian Phosphine,” released today (July 12, 2021) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Truong and Lunine argue that volcanism is the ways for phosphine to get into Venus upper atmosphere, after analyzing observations from the ground-based, submillimeter-wavelength James Clerk Maxwell Telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile.
If Venus has phosphide– a kind of phosphorous present in the worlds deep mantle– and, if it is given the surface in an explosive, volcanic method and after that injected into the atmosphere, those phosphides respond with the Venusian atmospheres sulfuric acid to form phosphine, Truong stated.
Lunine stated their phosphine design “recommends explosive volcanism happening,” while “radar images from the Magellan spacecraft in the 1990s reveal some geologic functions might support this.”
In 1978, on NASAs Pioneer Venus orbiter mission, researchers uncovered variations of sulfur dioxide in Venus upper environment, hinting at the prospect of explosive volcanism, Truong said, comparable to the scale of Earths Krakatoa volcanic eruption in Indonesia in 1883.
Truong said, “confirming explosive volcanism on Venus through the gas phosphine was completely unanticipated.”
Referral: 12 July 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Financing for the research study was supplied by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.