Life on Venus?

To be fair, the headline in the article linked to here says ‘signs of life’ have been detected on Venus, and not, as I optimistically read it at first glance, life has been detected on Venus.
They do that on purpose. They know there are a bunch of us out here who would just love to hear about extraterrestrial life, and they are willing to dangle that carrot for the sake of extra readers.
But it’s still pretty exciting.
Of course, the only sign is the existence of a gas which, on Earth, is produced organically within two life forms – pond scum is one, and the other is penguins. Specifically, the poop of penguins which, when you think about it, probably freezes just about as soon as it hits the ground, so there’s probably lots of penguin poop in Antarctica just waiting to get hauled to a lab for study. So, that’s how we know about phosphine.
Anyway, it still sounds unlikely because Venus is super hot, like hellishly hot, like hotter than actual fires on Earth can even get, and nothing could live in that, right?
Well, this gas was discovered in the upper atmosphere, and when you think about it, there has to be a point between the boiling lava and hellish landscape of the surface, if you can call it that, of Venus, and the beginning of outer space, where it’s got to be cool enough for life to exist.
Any life is probably some kind of bacterium, or weird little small thing we haven’t discovered yet, and it’s free floating in the no-man’s land between Venus and space, so to say it’s not ‘life as we know it’ is kind of an understatement.
To say there is almost no chance of it being intelligent life is also a no-brainer, because it would be real hard to develop a civilization when you can never touch the surface and everything around you is fire. Not ‘on fire,’ just fire. What intelligent creature would want to live like that?
But still, it’s exciting. It would be one more item checked off on the old Drake Equation, and a rather big item at that.

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