Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




EXO LIFE
A New Approach to SETI: Targeting Alien Polluters
by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) Jul 29, 2014


In this artist's conception, the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet displays a brownish haze - the result of widespread pollution. New research shows that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope potentially could detect certain pollutants, specifically CFCs, in the atmospheres of Earth-sized planets orbiting white dwarf stars. Image courtesy Christine Pulliam (CfA). For a larger version of this image please go here.

Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs?

They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. New research by theorists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) shows that we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions. This would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

"We consider industrial pollution as a sign of intelligent life, but perhaps civilizations more advanced than us, with their own SETI programs, will consider pollution as a sign of unintelligent life since it's not smart to contaminate your own air," says Harvard student and lead author Henry Lin.

"People often refer to ETs as 'little green men,' but the ETs detectable by this method should not be labeled 'green' since they are environmentally unfriendly," adds Harvard co-author Avi Loeb.

The team, which also includes Smithsonian scientist Gonzalo Gonzalez Abad, finds that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) should be able to detect two kinds of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) -- ozone-destroying chemicals used in solvents and aerosols.

They calculated that JWST could tease out the signal of CFCs if atmospheric levels were 10 times those on Earth. A particularly advanced civilization might intentionally pollute the atmosphere to high levels and globally warm a planet that is otherwise too cold for life.

There is one big caveat to this work. JWST can only detect pollutants on an Earth-like planet circling a white dwarf star, which is what remains when a star like our Sun dies. That scenario would maximize the atmospheric signal. Finding pollution on an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star would require an instrument beyond JWST -- a next-next-generation telescope.

The team notes that a white dwarf might be a better place to look for life than previously thought, since recent observations found planets in similar environments. Those planets could have survived the bloating of a dying star during its red giant phase, or have formed from the material shed during the star's death throes.

While searching for CFCs could ferret out an existing alien civilization, it also could detect the remnants of a civilization that annihilated itself. Some pollutants last for 50,000 years in Earth's atmosphere while others last only 10 years. Detecting molecules from the long-lived category but none in the short-lived category would show that the sources are gone.

"In that case, we could speculate that the aliens wised up and cleaned up their act. Or in a darker scenario, it would serve as a warning sign of the dangers of not being good stewards of our own planet," says Loeb.

.


Related Links
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)
Life Beyond Earth
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EXO LIFE
Are we ready for contact with extraterrestrial intelligence
Cadiz, Spain (SPX) May 08, 2014
The SETI project scientists are known for tracking possible extraterrestrial signals, but now they are also considering sending messages from Earth telling of our position. A researcher from the University of Cadiz (Spain) questions this idea in view of the results from a survey taken by students, revealing the general level of ignorance about the cosmos and the influence of religion when tackli ... read more


EXO LIFE
China's biggest moon challenge: returning to earth

Lunar Pits Could Shelter Astronauts, Reveal Details of How 'Man in the Moon' Formed

Manned mission to Moon scheduled by Roscosmos for 2020-2031

Landsat Looks to the Moon

EXO LIFE
NASA Seeks Proposals for Commercial Mars Data Relay Satellites

Emirates paves way for Middle East space program with mission to Mars

Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars

India could return to Mars as early as 2017

EXO LIFE
NASA Explores Additional Undersea Missions With NEEMO Projects 18 and 19

NASA Awards Construction Contract at Kennedy Space Center

Sierra Nevada Completes Major Dream Chaser NASA CCiCap Milestone

NASA Partners Punctuate Summer with Spacecraft Development Advances

EXO LIFE
China to launch HD observation satellite this year

Lunar rock collisions behind Yutu damage

China's Fast Track To Circumlunar Mission

Chinese moon rover designer shooting for Mars

EXO LIFE
End dawns for Europe's space cargo delivery role

Russian Cargo Craft Launches for 6-Hour Trek to ISS

ISS Crew Opens Cargo Ship Hatch, Preps for CubeSat Deployment

Russian cargo craft docks with ISS, science satellite fails

EXO LIFE
SpaceX releases video of rocket splashing into the ocean

China to launch satellite for Venezuela

SpaceX Soft Lands Falcon 9 Rocket First Stage

SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Flights Deemed Successful

EXO LIFE
The Most Precise Measurement of an Alien World's Size

'Challenges' in quest to find water on Earth-like worlds: study

Transiting Exoplanet with Longest Known Year

Brown Dwarfs May Wreak Havoc on Orbits of Nearby Planets

EXO LIFE
Diode laser strong enough to cut metal developed by former MIT scientists

Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution

UAMS To Help Establish NSBRI Center for Space Radiation Research

A new multi-bit 'spin' for MRAM storage




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.