The Akatsuki orbiter is never mentioned in articles about the phosphine discovery, does it have the capability to detect it and has it tried?

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    $\begingroup$ Good question! No spacecraft has the capacity or budget to carry every instrument needed to cover every possible method of examining a celestial object. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2021 at 2:10

1 Answer 1


I think it does not have the ability to detect it. What was observed (or may not have been observed now) was a rotational transition at $267\,\mathrm{GHz}$ or about $1.123\,\mathrm{mm}$. Akatsuki's instruments are all in or around the visible spectrum: it has instruments which work from $\sim 250\,\mathrm{nm}$ to $\sim 10\,\mathrm{\mu m}$ I think, probably with gaps (from Wikipedia). I couldn't work out whether it had a spectrometer of some kind for one or more instruments: I assume it does however.

Of course there may be other ways of detecting phosphine, but if there were I suspect there would be a frenzy of activity of trying to do that from Earth. It's possible that there are things that would be masked by the atmosphere however.


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