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We can find alien life within 25 years, claims astrophysicist

By T.K. Randall
September 18, 2022 · Comment icon 159 comments

There must be life out there somewhere... Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
The James Webb Space Telescope may not find evidence of alien life, but the next telescope probably will.
Sasha Quanz - an astrophysicist at Switzerland's federal technology institute ETH Zurich - recently suggsted that we could find evidence of life on other worlds within as little as 25 years.

This time-frame, he argues, is ambitious but not "unrealistic".

Speaking during a press briefing earlier this month, Quanz maintains that the James Webb Space Telescope - which is the most powerful telescope ever launched into space - probably won't be able to directly image the types of small, Earth-like worlds on which life is most likely to be found.

That said, however, new instruments are currently being developed that will be able to fulfill this role.

The mid-infrared ELT imager and spectrograph (METIS), for example, will eventually become a part of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) which, with an optical mirror measuring 130 ft across, will be the world's largest optical telescope once it is completed before the end of the decade.
"The primary goal of the instrument is to take the first picture of a terrestrial planet, potentially similar to Earth, around one of the very nearest stars," he said.

"But our long-term vision is to do that not only for a few stars but for dozens of stars, and to investigate the atmospheres of dozens of terrestrial exoplanets."

To really confirm the presence of life on other worlds, however, something even more specialized will likely be required, such as the LIFE (Large Interferometer for Exoplanets) mission which is still in the planning stages and likely won't become a reality for well over a decade.

That is still well within Quanz' 25-year time frame, however.

"We need to gain deeper understanding about the plausible building blocks of life, the pathways and the timescales of chemical reactions and the external conditions to help us prioritize target stars and target planets," he said.

"We need to verify to what extent the traces of life are true bioindicators, because maybe there are other processes that could lead to the creation of the gasses in these atmospheres."

Source: | Comments (159)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #150 Posted by astrobeing 2 years ago
It depends on which definition of "miracle" you're using. We are certainly the result of a series of extraordinary events but they can all be explained without supernatural influences. No supreme beings needed!
Comment icon #151 Posted by Black Red Devil 2 years ago
How many types of miracles are there?
Comment icon #152 Posted by astrobeing 2 years ago
Comment icon #153 Posted by Black Red Devil 2 years ago
lol, I didn't ask what's a miracle, I asked how many (different) types there are, which BTW, Oxford (in your link) is defining a miracle as: an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency. So if you believe we exist by miracle, then you believe a divine agency was at work.
Comment icon #154 Posted by astrobeing 2 years ago
Are you telling me that you didn't see the two other definitions at that link? One was: "A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences." No divine stuff in that definition. I posted the link assuming you'd read the whole thing but so much for leading a horse to water I guess...
Comment icon #155 Posted by Black Red Devil 2 years ago
That's because you don't understand what you post.  The main definition for miracle is: "an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency." The two examples are hyperbole analogies where the word miracle can be used to exagerate a scenario.  The way you are resorting to the word "miracle" in your explanation of events relating to the "creation" of life on earth, isn't defined in a hyperbolic way but as an explanation of how things eventuated.
Comment icon #156 Posted by astrobeing 2 years ago
And that is why they are also definitions of the word "miracle" and can be used those ways. You have been the only one to use the word "miracle" in this thread so clearly you have no clue what I've actually said.
Comment icon #157 Posted by lightly 2 years ago
I like to think of the universe as a supreme being.    supreme:  1. Greatest in power…. 2. Greatest in importance or degree…3. Ultimate; final.         As for supernatural.. if something/anything exists  it’s natural.  There is no such thing as supernatural?
Comment icon #158 Posted by Hankenhunter 2 years ago
  Wow, nice squabble. This thread's like every other on the subject. One side says yay, the other nay. Neither can disprove the other, so it degrades into personal conflicts. So what's my point? We're too juvenile a species to make the determination whether life exists elsewhere or not. When discussing this topic, we should deal in possibilities instead of absolutes. Flat out denial of the possibilities is a sign of a weak mind.   For the record, I'm a believer in the possibilities of extraterrestrial life on earth, and elsewhere in the universe. I've seen more reason to believe, than disbel... [More]
Comment icon #159 Posted by astrobeing 2 years ago
What history classes did you take that covered extraterrestrial life on Earth?

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