Artist's conceptual picture of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus.

To confirm life on other planets, we need to detect far more molecules in their atmospheres than we currently do to rule out non-biological chemical processes.

Phosphene molecules and Venus

Considering what we know about the key ingredients for life's formation on Earth, here are three explanations for how this process may have occurred on our sister planet.

Planet Venus

The discovery of phosphine in the acidic clouds of Venus can't be explained by any known chemical or geological processes.