Array of Flux collectors.

Telescopes Could Detect ET Life Signs Within 25 Years

by Staff Writers
Amsterdam, Netherlands (SPX) Feb 15, 2013

A team of Dutch astronomers has shown that with a new type of telescope it may be possible to detect signs of extraterrestrial life on planets orbiting other stars than the Sun. Although even the most nearby stars are at enormous distances, biological activity can reveal itself through gases released in the planet atmospheres, which would otherwise not be present – so called biomarker gases.

This idea, which has been around since the 1960s, has now been coupled to a new observing strategy, which uses relatively low-cost ground-based flux collector telescopes for high-precision measurements of oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres. The study was published in the February 20th issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

As has been argued now for several decades, observations of planets orbiting distant stars, so called exoplanets, may one day reveal signs of extraterrestrial life. About one-fifth of the Earth atmosphere consists of molecular oxygen, which is only present because it is generated by biological activity – e.g., photosynthesis in plants, and would otherwise be absent because it is so easily spent by oxidation through a range of chemical processes. Finding oxygen in the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star could therefore point to extraterrestrial life.

Read more: Telescopes Could Detect ET Life Signs Within 25 Years — Space Daily.

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