Several ongoing or soon-to-be-launched missions point to a new space race to make the greatest scientific discovery ever.
We live in an infinite universe with an infinite number of stars and planets. It has been clear to many of us that we cannot be the only intelligent life out there
says Scottish astronomer Professor Catherine Heymans.
Today’s telescopes have become so advanced that they can analyze the atmospheres of planets orbiting distant stars. They are looking for chemicals that might indicate the presence of life. At the beginning of the month, they also found something that could indicate a living organism, because they discovered a possible sign of gases produced by simple marine organisms that are also found on land.
In the atmosphere of a planet called K2-18b located 120 light-years away
– writes A BBC.
The research team expects to know whether these signs are confirmed within a year. If the signals are confirmed, “it will fundamentally change the way we think about searching for life,” said Professor Niku Madhusudan, from the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, who led the study.
Finding signs of life on the first planet examined raises the possibility that life is a common phenomenon in the universe
What about foreigners?
Some scientists consider the subject of extraterrestrials a remote possibility belonging to the realm of science fiction, but the search for radio signals from alien worlds has been confirmed for decades by the Research Institute for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
Outer space is a huge area, so their search has been random so far. However, the ability of telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to pinpoint the potential locations of alien civilizations means that
Seti can focus on research.
“This has given new impetus to the study of life in the universe,” according to Dr. Nathalie Cabrol, director of SETI’s Carl Sagan Center. The institute has upgraded its telescope system and now uses instruments to search for connections of powerful laser pulses from distant planets.
As a highly trained astrobiologist, Dr. Cabrol understands why some scientists are skeptical about searching for a SETI signal. However, in his opinion, chemical signals coming from distant atmospheres and even microfossils from Mars can be explained.
“Different ways to find signs of life may seem far-fetched, but discovery could happen at any time,” he said.