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Cloudy with a chance of life

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Could there be life in the clouds of Venus? There’s no direct evidence, but the possibility is intriguing. In 2020, Cardiff University astronomer Jane Greaves announced that her team may have found phosphine in the upper clouds of our neighboring world. Ever since, she’s been working to replicate these findings using other instruments. She joins this week’s Planetary Radio to share intriguing new data. Pictured: An illustration of the phosphine molecule and Venus’ clouds. Image credit: ESO et al.

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Could there be life under the Martian surface? This is another big question in the search for life, one that the Mars Life Explorer (MLE) is designed to investigate. The proposed NASA stationary-lander would succeed InSight, which searched for evidence of tectonic activity on Mars, and Phoenix, whose scoop exposed subsurface ice. MLE would drill into Mars looking for water ice, take samples, and study them.

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Photo by Xu Haiwei on Unsplash