Do look up! NASA telescope could find alien civilisation using air pollution data

Space telescope might look for life by detecting pollutants in the atmosphere of exoplanets

Big Zero Report 2022

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NASA‘s largest and most powerful space science telescope might find alien life just by looking at air pollution levels of distant planets.

That’s the finding of a new study that examined the ability of the James Webb Space Telescope to search for industrial pollutants in the atmospheres of exoplanets.

ELN spoke to the author of the study, Jacob Haqq-Misra, a Senior Research Investigator at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, a US educational charity, about the potential benefits of such a discovery.

Mr Haqq-Misra said: “Our initial objective is how we look for life on exoplanets. One type of life is life that uses technology like us on Earth.

“Humans are life forms and just like other organisms that use technology – and our technology is starting to exert a signal that could be detectable at astronomical distances if someone was looking at us.

“So we are trying to kind of ask the reverse question if we are looking for alien life out there in any forms let’s look for all kinds of biology”.

The study focused on chlorofluorocarbons which, on Earth, were widely used in refrigerators.

The researcher said: “We studied the longest lived and the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth. That still does not mean that they’re even the best ones for, you know, if aliens are making these for whatever reason they have them.”

Watch the video to listen to the entire interview.

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