The probe of the Pioneer 13 mission received evidence of phosphine in the clouds of Venus back in 1978. This conclusion was reached by scientists who analyzed the information obtained by the probe.
NASA researchers found that a mission to Venus in 1978 may have detected the presence of phosphine decades before the same discovery that occurred in September 2020. This became clear after the news that phosphine had been detected in the atmosphere of Venus, then researchers began to wonder if there was information about this in the data of the Pioneer 13 mission. Then a probe descended on the planet, which collected data on the planet’s atmosphere.
The probe collected samples and sent them back for researchers to analyze. However, the scientists did not emphasize that the data also contained information about phosphine and other phosphorus-based compounds. The data was still available for re-examination, which the scientists did.
These data also show the presence of phosphorus compounds. Then it turned out that the substance is found mainly in the equator, at an altitude of 53–61 km above the planet’s surface.
“The news has inspired us to reanalyze the data to look for evidence of phosphorus compounds,” the researchers noted. The published mass spectral data correspond to gases at altitudes of 50-60 km or within the lower and middle clouds of Venus – which has been identified as potential habitat. We find the LMNS data support the presence of phosphine, although the origin of the phosphine remains unknown. ”
NASA admitted that scientists had discovered phosphine four decades ago, but didn’t realize it. “This is pretty wild, and makes you wonder what other discoveries were made unknowingly over the decades when NASA and other space agencies conducted missions into space,” the BGR reporters note.