"Chemists compare phosphine to a pyramid — one atom of phosphorus topping a base of three hydrogen atoms. The NASA spacecraft Cassini detected it in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. In that setting, Dr. Sousa-Silva said, life is not necessary to form phosphine. The immense heat and pressures can jam the phosphrous and hydrogen atoms together to form the molecule.
But on smaller, rocky planets like Earth and Venus, the researchers say, there is not enough energy to produce copious amounts of phosphine in the same way. There is one thing, however, that appears to be very good at producing it: anaerobic life, or microbial organisms that don’t require or use oxygen."
What's really a trip here though, is that the article goes on to say that Venus has significantly more of it than Earth has.
Though, before we get too excited at the possibilities of this, the article also states:
"But scientists have yet to explain how Earth microbes make it.
There’s not a lot of understanding of where it’s coming from, how it forms, things like that,” said Matthew Pasek, a geoscientist at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
“We’ve seen it associated with where microbes are at, but we have not seen a microbe do it, which is a subtle difference, but an important one.”
I'll be interested to learn more about all of this.
12. "chances are there was once life on Mars and Venus...." In response to Reply # 0
....whatever we end up finding there will be the very last shreds of life. If we ever reach Class 1 Civilization status, we can bring these planets back from the grave. We've got a long way to go.. collectively we are a very dumb lifeform.