Researchers suggested that their findings could be confirmed by a mission to Venus that would collect samples from the planet’s “surface and cloud”.
A team of scientists has announced the discovery of a certain amino acid in Venus’ atmosphere, which may hint at the presence of life on that planet, Science Alert reports.
According to the media outlet, the amino acid in question, glycine, is the simplest of the amino acids present in the genetic code, adding that although amino acids are not biosignatures – ie they are not surefire signs that life exists – they serve as building blocks for proteins, not to mention that they were “some of the first organic molecules to appear on Earth”.
Having reportedly discovered glycine’s presence on Venus via spectroscopy while using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the authors of the research argued that the amino acid’s “detection in the atmosphere of Venus might be one of the keys to understanding the formation mechanisms of prebiotic molecules in the atmosphere of Venus”.
The team pointed out, however, that glycine’s discovery in Venusian atmosphere is a “hint of the existence of life but not robust evidence”.
They also stated that the presence of glycine on the planet could be confirmed by a “Venus mission with direct sampling from the Venusian surface and cloud”.