NASA has a lot of priorities on its plate. There’s the ongoing exploration of Mars. There’s the ambitious plan to send astronauts back to the moon in 2024. Now we can add Venus to that list, and possibly even nudge it toward the top.
News of thehas triggered speculation . On Earth, phosphine is associated with certain microbes.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine called the findings “the most significant development yet in building the case for life off Earth” in a Tweet on Monday.
Bridenstine pointed to NASA research into microbial life in Earth’s upper atmosphere and wrote, “It’s time to prioritize Venus.”
Venus isn’t a completely unexplored planet. There have been NASA, ESA, JAXA and Soviet flybys and probes sent to the second planet from the sun.
“As with an increasing number of planetary bodies, Venus is proving to be an exciting place of discovery, though it had not been a significant part of the search for life because of its extreme temperatures, atmospheric composition and other factors,” NASA said in a release Monday that also stated the space agency wasn’t involved in this latest research.
Bridenstine’s enthusiasm would still need to be translated into actual missions before we get too excited about NASA revisiting the enigmatic planet. The agency has already been considering a return to Venus in some form. NASA is exploring the possibility of a couple of Venus-focused missions as part of its Discovery Program.
The new study and the questions it raises may be reason enough to fast-track a mission to take a closer look at the Venus clouds. Is it alien life? Is there another explanation? We need more data to make the call.
- Pandemic thriller Utopia on Amazon might be the perfect viewing
- 2021 Jaguar F-Pace refreshed with new styling, luxury and tech
- 2020 Halloween full moon: This year’s spooky spectacle brings a rare twist
- The best minimalist wallet for 2020
- YouTube is adding a new Shorts feature to rival TikTok and Instagram Reels
- Paul Rudd, world’s youngest 51-year-old, tells fellow kids to mask up
- Jonathan Majors to join MCU as villain Kang the Conquerer, report says
- TikTok ban won’t prevent employees from being paid, US says in filing
- Amazon FreeTime Unlimited rebranded as Kids Plus with more videos, music