ALIENS could be discovered in 25 years when more powerful telescopes are built

A government scientist said we could find alien life outside our solar system in 25 years, but current technology like the James Webb Space Telescope isn’t powerful enough to pinpoint evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Sasha Kwanz, an astrophysicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich, made the comments at the recent opening of the University’s new Center for the Origin and Diffusion of Life.

Although scientists know about 5,000 exoplanets and there are billions yet to be discovered within our Milky Way, we don’t know much about the atmosphere of these faraway places.

In 1995, my colleague [and Noble Prize laureate] Didier Queloz discovered the first planet outside our solar system, Cowans said during the briefing, according to Space.com.

According to Quanz, the 25-year time frame he has set for himself to find life outside the solar system is ambitious but not “unrealistic.”

A government scientist says we could find alien life outside our solar system in 25 years, but current technology like the James Webb Space Telescope isn’t powerful enough to pinpoint evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Billions of exoplanets have yet to be discovered by scientists.  Each of the more than 100 billion stars in our Milky Way has at least one planet orbiting it

Billions of exoplanets have yet to be discovered by scientists. Each of the more than 100 billion stars in our Milky Way has at least one planet orbiting it

The James Webb Telescope, which was not built explicitly to view exoplanets but instead to view the oldest stars in the universe, recently released the first direct image of an exoplanet orbiting a distant star – gas giant HIP 65426 b, a planet more than 12 times the size . The size of Jupiter.

However, Cowans explained, Webb, despite the most powerful observatory ever set in space, is not powerful enough to be able to pick up smaller Earth-like planets that orbit close enough to their stars that liquid water is possible.

“[The HIP 65426] Cowans said the system is a very special one. It is a gas giant planet orbiting very far from the star.

This is what Webb can do in terms of taking pictures of planets. We will not be able to reach the minor planets. The web is not powerful enough to do this.

Kwans and his team are leading the development of the Medium Infrared Imaging and Spectrograph (METIS) instrument, a unique instrument that will be part of the Very Large Telescope (ELT)

Kwans and his team are leading the development of the Medium Infrared Imaging and Spectrograph (METIS) instrument, a unique instrument that will be part of the Very Large Telescope (ELT)

Kwans said:

“What we don’t know is whether these terrestrial planets have atmospheres and what these atmospheres are made of,” Cowans said, adding that many of these exoplanets could be able to support life just like Earth.

However, there is cause for hope as new tools are already being built with the sole purpose of bridging this gap in James Webb’s capabilities.

Quanz and his team are leading the development of the Medium Infrared Imaging and Spectrograph (METIS) instrument, a unique instrument that will be part of the Very Large Telescope (ELT).

The ground-based instrument is being built by the European Southern Observatory in Chile, ELT, and once completed at the end of this decade, it will contain a 130-foot-wide mirror — making it the largest optical telescope in the world.

“The instrument’s primary goal is to capture the first image of a potentially Earth-like planet around one of the very closest stars,” the astrophysicist said. “But our long-term vision is to do this not just for a few stars but for dozens of stars, and to investigate the atmospheres of dozens of terrestrial exoplanets.”

“What we don’t know is whether these terrestrial planets have atmospheres and what these atmospheres are made of,” Cowans said, adding that many of these exoplanets could be able to support life just like Earth.

We need to examine the atmosphere of these planets. We need an observational approach that allows us to take pictures of these planets.

“We need to gain a deeper understanding about the building blocks of life, the pathways and timelines for chemical reactions and external conditions to help us prioritize target stars and target planets,” he added.

“We need to check to what extent traces of life are real biomarkers, because there may be other processes that can lead to gas formation in these atmospheres.”

Cowans explained that Webb (above), although the most powerful observatory ever set in space, is not powerful enough to be able to pick up smaller Earth-like planets that orbit close enough to their stars that liquid water can be present.

Cowans explained that Webb (above), although the most powerful observatory ever set in space, is not powerful enough to be able to pick up smaller Earth-like planets that orbit close enough to their stars that liquid water can be present.

The James Webb Telescope recently released the first direct image of an exoplanet orbiting a distant star - the gas giant HIP 65426 b, a planet 12 times the size of Jupiter.

The James Webb Telescope recently released the first direct image of an exoplanet orbiting a distant star – the gas giant HIP 65426 b, a planet 12 times the size of Jupiter.

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