Venus is a “Russian planet,” the head of Russia’s state space agency said Tuesday following new research that suggests there could be life on the second planet from the sun.
The research, published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday, details British and American scientists’ discovery of phosphine gas in Venus’ clouds and puts forward possible theories for its origin, including that of extraterrestrial life.
Speaking at the 2020 HeliRussia exhibition, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said prior research by Russian scientists indicated that the planet is inhospitable to life.
“Our country was the first and only one to successfully land on Venus,” Rogozin said. “The [Russian] spacecraft gathered information about the planet — it is like hell over there.”
Roscosmos also announced plans Tuesday to launch an independent Russian expedition to Venus “without involving wide international cooperation.” The expedition will take place in addition to the previously planned Venera-D mission, which is being carried out in cooperation with the United States.
Following the study’s publication Monday, the Breakthrough Initiatives program funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced that it will fund a study “into the possibility of primitive life” in Venus’ clouds led by Sara Seager from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.