Wednesday, March 22

This is how James Webb could find extraterrestrial life | Digital Trends Spanish


The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) could not only help unravel the origin of the universe, but also another space mystery: the possible existence of advanced civilizations on other planets through atmospheric pollution.

According to American astronomers, the capabilities of the JWST to record indicators of habitability, analyze the atmospheric and surface levels on other planets, could be useful in detecting traces of extraterrestrial life.

Rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope. Getty Images

The thesis was put forward by researchers at the Blue Marble Space Science Institute in Seattle, in a study published in the magazine Earth and Planetary Astrophysics and what to propose searching for advanced life forms through pollution in exoplanet atmospheres.

Scientists propose to determine the habitability of a planet by detecting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a chemical derived from hydrocarbons that was used as a refrigerant and cleaning agent and is responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.

According to the researchers, quoted by the British newspaper Daily Mailif the James Webb telescope detects CFC molecules on other planets, this could be an indicator that they are being produced by a rapidly industrializing civilization.

Limitations

Atmospheric pollution
Air pollution could be useful in detecting extraterrestrial life forms. GettyImages.

The researchers warn that one of the limitations of the JWST to detect CFCs on other planets would occur when the star of the system that hosts it is too bright, since in this way it will “drown” the signal.

By the same token, scientists suggest that long-lived, dim red dwarfs, also known as M-class stars, would provide the greatest opportunity to find chemical signatures.

One of them could be TRAPPIST-1, a red dwarf that is 40 light years from Earth and has several planets the size of ours that orbit in what is known as the habitable zone.

Although M-class stars are not usually conducive to life when they are young, because they emit powerful and deadly solar flares, this instability calms down as they age, so they could be an opportunity.

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