Phosphine was detected on Venus 42 years ago, but NASA scientists did not attach any importance to it

Gas phosphine, indicating the possible existence of life, was discovered on Venus back in 1978, but NASA scientists did not pay attention to this. If NASA had noticed phosphine on Venus 42 years ago, by now we would have already known for sure if there was life on Venus.

Biochemist Rakesh Mogul from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, USA, found interesting data while digging through NASA archives. It turned out that phosphine, whose discovery in the atmosphere of the second planet of the solar system shocked the scientific world this year, was recorded in the atmosphere of Venus at the end of 1978, when Venus was studied by the apparatus Pioneer 13. The presence of phosphine was indicated by the data collected by a large probe neutral mass spectrometer aboard the Pioneer 13.

The apparatus found phosphine on Venus, when descended in the atmosphere of the planet by parachute. NASA scientists received data indicating the presence of phosphine, but did not pay any attention to them, because they were focused on finding other substances.

Phosphine (aka hydrogen phosphorus) is a poisonous gaseous substance, which is commonly considered a marker of bacterial life, as phosphine is produced by microorganisms. However, phosphine on Venus may not be of biogenic origin. But in order to determine this for sure, additional research will be needed, which can be done by sending new interplanetary probes to Venus.