Aliens could be using horrible-smelling “farts” or toxic gas that’s said to be deadly to any creature on Earth, as a form of cellular communication. And this could be the best way to finally prove that extraterrestrial life exists outside our planet, scientists said.

During an Astrobiology Science Conference held last month, molecular astrophysicist and postdoctoral associate of MIT Clara Sousa-Silva said that the use of the toxic gas or phosphine is not an obvious choice to help scientists search for life outside of Earth. However, since it is such a reactive compound, needs a lot of energy to produce and shouldn’t be found on anywhere on Earth, looking for this particular gas might be the way to detect alien life.

Phosphine is said to be found in small amounts across the globe so stumbling on large amounts of this compound might just be the clue we’re looking for on where to begin looking for alien life. Traces of the gas are present in places like sewage, marshlands, the intestines of fish and a penguin’s fecal matter among others. What’s striking about these spots is that it lacks oxygen so Sousa-Silva surmised that in places or planets where there’s no oxygen, aliens are likely to be producing phosphine.

In an interview with Live Science, the astrophysicist said that on distant planets that are known to have no oxygen, aliens "could happily produce phosphine." The gas is said to react when exposed to oxygen which makes it toxic to Earthlings. However, in oxygen-free areas, phosphine is actually harmless.

Aside from this, Sousa-Silva also believes that aliens could be using the gas as a form of defense, as a way to capture metals for biochemical means and even as a way to communicate at a cellular level.

Using this theory, Sousa-Silva’s team aims to detect phosphine on various exoplanets. By simulating phosphine production and destruction on exoplanets, they were able to detect the presence of the gas and how it interacts with light.

What’s more, the team realized that the toxic gas wouldn’t reflect any "false-positives" results when affected by geological phenomenon like lightning or volcanic eruption, something that’s associated with gases like methane. Because of this, any detectable amount of phosphine on “rocky temperate exoplanet could only be produced by life," the scientist explained.

Because of this, Sousa-Silva hopes that future studies of finding gas with biosignatures in other planets could also focus on finding phosphine instead.

NASA Solar System Montage - planets, comet, asteroid
This is an artist conception of a solar-system montage of the eight planets, a comet and an asteroid. NASA/JPL