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New way to detect alien life discovered


Posted on Tuesday, 17 June, 2014 | Comment icon 18 comments

Methane is believed to be a common indicator of life. Image Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
The powerful new model can help detect life on extrasolar planets more effectively than ever before.
Developed by researchers from the University College London, the technique works by analyzing the absorption of different colored light by an extrasolar planet's atmosphere and then comparing it to a predetermined spectrum to find out which molecules may be present there.

The new model will focus primarily on finding methane, the simplest organic molecule that is often used as an indicator for the presence of life.

"Current models of methane are incomplete, leading to a severe underestimation of methane levels on planets," said Professor Jonathan Tennyson. "We anticipate our new model will have a big impact on the future study of planets and 'cool' stars external to our solar system, potentially helping scientists identify signs of extraterrestrial life."

If all goes well then the new technique could soon be used to analyze the atmospheres of planets discovered around distant stars in an effort to determine whether life may have developed there.

Source: NDTV | Comments (18)

Tags: Extrasolar Planet, Life

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by kobolds on 18 June, 2014, 15:13
you can come out any new method u can think off ,since no one can proof whether it work or not
Comment icon #10 Posted by CuriousRey on 18 June, 2014, 15:42
Very interesting, i'll be waiting to hear what results the new methods garnish over time. Never know, they might find Jabba the Hutt out there somewhere!
Comment icon #11 Posted by Rose-Red Howler on 18 June, 2014, 16:14
This is really cool!
Comment icon #12 Posted by Emma_Acid on 18 June, 2014, 20:37
you can come out any new method u can think off ,since no one can proof whether it work or not "I don't understand science" would have been quicker to type.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 18 June, 2014, 20:47
I think scientists should build a very powerful telescope that can see everything/anything on the surface of other planets. Just avoid suns/stars Such a telescope is well beyond current abilities (and way, WAY beyond current budgetary constraints). There are several huge new telescopes under construction, including the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This will have a primary mirror 40 metres (131.2 ft)across. To give you some idea of how telescopes have progressed, when I first got interested in Astronomy a little over 40 years ago the largest telescope in the world had a primary m... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by MyOtherAccount on 19 June, 2014, 6:55
... There are several huge new telescopes under construction, including the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This will have a primary mirror 40 metres (131.2 ft)across. To give you some idea of how telescopes have progressed, when I first got interested in Astronomy a little over 40 years ago the largest telescope in the world had a primary mirror just 200 inches across. ... Lets see... 200 inches x 1 foot / 12 inches = 200 / 12 feet = 16.67 feet 131.2 feet /16.67 feet = 1 : 8 ratio The size doubled every 10 years!
Comment icon #15 Posted by taniwha on 19 June, 2014, 9:01
Lets see... 200 inches x 1 foot / 12 inches = 200 / 12 feet = 16.67 feet 131.2 feet /16.67 feet = 1 : 8 ratio The size doubled every 10 years! Amazing, in 50 yrs we will be looking through telescopes over a kilometre wide! We could spy on ET from the comfort of home!
Comment icon #16 Posted by bigjonalien on 19 June, 2014, 9:07
it gives nasa something else to cover up, wat life?
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 June, 2014, 10:37
The size doubled every 10 years! Not really. Firstly telescope sizes tend to take quantum leaps with new technology rather than increasing in size steadily. The Hale 200 in telescope was the largest telescope in the world from 1948 until 1975 when the Russians built a larger but not very successful 6m (238 in) telescope. Advances in technology meant that 15 telescopes with primary mirrors between 6 and 10 m were built between 1993 and 2002. The Keck 1 was the first of these new generation telescopes and with a 10m primary was the largest. In 1998 the identical Keck 2 was built and these remain... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 26 June, 2014, 15:52
Such a telescope is well beyond current abilities (and way, WAY beyond current budgetary constraints). There are several huge new telescopes under construction, including the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This will have a primary mirror 40 metres (131.2 ft)across. To give you some idea of how telescopes have progressed, when I first got interested in Astronomy a little over 40 years ago the largest telescope in the world had a primary mirror just 200 inches across. Because of the E-ELT's enormous size this behemoth will be able to see Earth like planets around stars but it will s... [More]


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