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Search for life in space: do penguins solve the riddle?


Researchers are taking a new step in their search for life in space. Her studies focus on penguins.

Researchers are taking a new step in their search for life in space.

Her studies focus on penguins.

Kassel - It is traded among astronomers as an important raw material for life on other planets: phosphine.

Scientists made a new discovery at the end of 2020.

You notice traces of the chemical molecule in the clouds of Venus.

The chemical is made by microbes that live in oxygen-rich environments.

Now researchers want to find out whether similar bacteria exist on Venus and could be responsible for life on other planets.

Only recently had scientists at Cambridge University discovered a new type of habitable planet in space.

Gentoo penguins are now the focus.

The reason: their weathered droppings contain phosphine, which researchers now want to take a closer look at.

Employees at Imperial College in London are currently conducting further studies in order to gain new knowledge.

Searching for life in space: researchers are puzzled

“We have reprocessed the data and we are pretty sure the phosphine find is real.

But we don't know what it is causing, ”explains Dr.

Dave Clements.

There are some anaerobic bacteria that produce phosphine.

Among other things, they live in the intestines of badgers and in weathered penguin droppings.

The problem: "It's very difficult to measure because it is destroyed as soon as oxygen is added," said Clements.

“We don't know why anything produces phosphines at all, because it takes energy.

It's not a by-product like methane.

So it could have something to do with defense or signals against other competing bacteria ”.

Space research: Scientists have to solve problems

Before the researchers can examine the penguin droppings in search of life in space, they first have to solve another problem.

They would “really like to analyze the weathered penguin droppings to understand the biology.

But it's very difficult for astronomers to get funding to play with penguins, ”said Clements.

(Jan Wendt)

Most recently, NASA discovered a "strange structure" on Mars and celebrated a discovery on the red planet.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-09-22

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