NASA investigating first crime committed in space Phosphine - a phosphorus atom with three hydrogen atoms attached - is highly toxic to people. Earth-based telescopes like those used in this research help scientists study the chemistry and other characteristics of celestial objects. Phosphine was seen at 20 parts-per-billion in the Venusian atmosphere, a trace concentration. Greaves said the researchers examined potential non-biological sources such as volcanism, meteorites, lightning and various types of chemical reactions, but none appeared viable. The research continues to either confirm the presence of life or find an alternative explanation. Venus is Earth's closest planetary neighbor. Similar in structure but slightly smaller than Earth, it is the second planet from the sun. Earth is the third. Venus is wrapped in a thick, toxic atmosphere that traps in heat. Surface temperatures reach ...read more...