How will we know for sure that we have found alien life ?
By T.K. Randall
March 30, 2022 · 8 comments
How can we tell if something is genuinely alien ? Image Credit: NASA / Pat Rawlings
Detecting potential signs of alien life is one thing, but confirming it beyond any shadow of a doubt is quite another.
The confirmed detection of extraterrestrial life - thus proving once and for all that life on Earth was not a fluke - would be one of the most important discoveries in the history of human civilization.
Given the significance of such a find, however, it is important to know for sure that when we think we have found evidence of alien life, that we actually have done so and that it cannot be explained any other way.
There have been several false alarms already, including the apparent detection of alien organisms in samples collected by the Viking lander on Mars, the alleged discovery of fossil organisms in a meteorite and even the recent detection of phosphene gas in the atmosphere of Venus.
Even to this day, there are some who maintain that at least one of these actually does constitute evidence of alien life, however there has been no widespread acceptance of any of them.
To convince everyone, therefore, we would need more than just a single piece of evidence but instead multiple confirmed detections for which there could be no other explanation.
Short of intelligent aliens landing on the White House lawn, the detection of alien organisms on Mars for instance would most likely gain the greatest amount of acceptance if it could be independently verified by multiple sources.
If astronauts visited Mars and confirmed the evidence first-hand, for instance, it would be far more convincing than the data from a robotic rover could ever be on its own.
With manned missions to the Moon and then to Mars planned in the not-too-distant future, perhaps we won't have long to wait before such a discovery will be made.
Source: Big Think
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