So maybe you heard this thing about possible signs of life on Venus. Yes, it’s Venus this time and not Mars. Scientists have detected the signature of the molecule phosphine in the atmosphere of this planet using rotational spectroscopy. As far as we understand it now, the only way to get phosphine is to make it in a lab or as a byproduct of some types of bacteria. Oh, bacteria on Venus? That would be kind of a big deal.
Now, some pretty awesome physics are involved in the possible detection of this molecule. Let me go over some of the coolest ideas so that you can fully understand it.
Radio Waves Are Light Waves
The signal for phosphine is a radio wave with a wavelength of 1.123 mm. So, how you do “see” radio waves? Yes, you use a radio telescope. In this case, that telescope was the