It is possible to discover extraterrestrial life in the next 25 years

Looking at the development of powerful tools to study exoplanets, a researcher believes that within the next 25 years we could find evidence of life beyond the solar system.

BingMag.com It is possible to discover extraterrestrial life in the next 25 years

Looking at the development of powerful tools to study exoplanets, a researcher believes that within the next 25 years we could find evidence of life beyond the solar system.

"Sasha Quanz" (Sasha Quanz), an astrophysicist of the Zurich University of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, said at the opening ceremony of the center for the study of the origin and evolution of life: "In 1995, my colleague Didier Queloz (Didier Queloz) discovered the first planet outside the solar system He discovered Shamsi. So far, more than 5,000 exoplanets have been known, and this number is increasing every day. planet, this number is expected to increase dramatically. Thus, among these discoveries, some of these planets will be located at the right distance from their host star, just like Earth, and will have life conditions, including liquid water.

Quans continued: What we don't know is whether these Earth-like planets have atmospheres, and if so, what is their atmosphere made of? So we need to study the atmospheres of these planets and we need an observational approach to be able to take pictures of these planets." Webb released its first direct image of an exoplanet. This gas giant, named HIP 65426 b, has about 12 times the mass of Jupiter and orbits at a distance of 100 AU from its parent star. Valuable information about exoplanets, including the detection of carbon dioxide and water in the atmospheres of several of them, has helped.

However, Cowans noted that the power of the web to detect much smaller planets and rocks that are closer to stars Central, that is, they orbit in a region with the possibility of liquid water, is not enough.

He added: "The HIP 65426 system is very special because it is a gas giant located at a great distance from the central star. So Webb can photograph it, but not the smaller planets.

New instruments are now being built to fill this gap in the James Webb Space Telescope's capabilities. For example, Cowans and his team are developing the Large Cloud Telescope Mid-Infrared Imaging and Spectrograph (METIS) instrument. This decade, it will have a 40-meter-wide mirror, making it the largest optical telescope ever built. Transforming the Universe

According to Quans, the main purpose of this instrument is to capture the first image of a potentially Earth-like rocky planet around one of the nearest stars. But in the long term, it will do this not just for a few stars, but for dozens of stars, and probe the atmospheres of dozens of rocky exoplanets. It is not strong enough to detect signs of life outside the solar system because, when mounted on a ground-based telescope such as the ELT, the interference effect of the Earth's atmosphere makes chemical measurements of the atmospheres of distant worlds difficult.

This is where a space telescope is needed. and because James Webb is not completely up to it, a completely new mission must go into space. The mission "LIFE" (LIFE), which is currently under the supervision of the European Space Agency (ESA) is undergoing its initial studies, has such a task. Created by living organisms in their atmospheres, the new ETH Zurich Center for Extrasolar Studies could provide the basis for its observations to improve our understanding of the chemical structures of life and how it affects planetary atmospheres.

According to him, although it is ambitious, the 25-year timeframe he considers for finding life outside the solar system is not unrealistic. "There is no guarantee of success, but we will learn a lot along the way," he added.

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