Telescopes have detected unusually high concentrations of the molecule phosphine—a stinky, flammable chemical typically associated with faeces, flatulence, and rotting microbial activity—in an atmospheric layer far above Venus’ scorching surface. Scientific American reports that the finding is curious because here on Earth, phosphine is essentially always associated with living creatures, either as a by-product of metabolic processes or of human technology such as industrial fumigants and methamphetamine labs. Of course, there might be additional pathways to making phosphine the team has not yet considered and the results will have to be carefully vetted by the scientific community, but they seem likely to spark renewed interest in exploring our sister planet next door.