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Are There Really Aliens? Exploring the Search For Extraterrestrial Life Beyond Our Solar System

Our solar system is just a part of the universe, making us curious about our ‘neighbors’ like exoplanets and other moons. This makes scientists attempt to find signs of life on other planets with different methods. So, what have they discovered from their findings? Are we alone in the universe, or are there aliens outside our planet? This article will shed light on these questions.

Can life survive on planets outside our solar system?

Before we delve into the question of whether there is life on exoplanets, we have to know if it’s possible at all. Exoplanets orbit other stars besides the sun, so extensive scientific research is needed to explore them.

Scientists discovered that the chances of life existing on an exoplanet are higher if it exists in its star’s habitable zone. This means the chances of life existing on exoplanets depend on the particular exoplanet.

How will we know if we find life?

Of course, scientists can’t just wander around in search of life. There have to be some signs that scientists can pick up on before they can detect the existence of life in outer space.

The James Webb Space Telescope can detect signs of an atmosphere like ours when there is a mix of gases like methane, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. The presence of these gasses is a strong indication of extraterrestrial life.

Using transit spectroscopy

Another way scientists can detect life outside our solar system is by using transit spectroscopy. This method involves using light from exoplanets’ atmospheres as a major pointer.

Courtesy: ESA

This light will split into a rainbow spectrum that can be read like a barcode. This would reveal the gasses and chemicals of these exoplanets’ skies, including those linked to life. 

Are there particular exoplanets we should look at?

There are over 4,900 exoplanets in our galaxy. You’ll agree with us that this high number makes it impossible for scientists to search every single exoplanet. So, how do we know which planets to explore?

To narrow down their search, scientists employ the habitable zone concept. This concept ascertains the possibility of life on an exoplanet with the possibility of liquid water forming on its surface. This concept helps scientists know which exoplanets to focus on.

Another dimension of ‘life’

Scientists have discovered ‘Extremophiles,’ which are life forms that thrive in extreme conditions. These life forms may be pointers to life on exoplanets. But where did extremophiles come from?

Courtesy: ThoughtCo

These forms are from life branches that split from ours billions of years ago. So far, life on our planet is the only one we know of. However, scientists are continually looking for signs of extraterrestrial life.

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