‘We may find signs of life on other planets in next 5 to 10 years’ thanks to powerful new telescope, claims researcher
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor to Hubble, could detect signs of life on other planets within the next five to 10 years, according to Caprice Phillips, a PhD student at the Ohio State University.
Due to launch in October 2021 after years of delays, the new cutting-edge telescope could allow humanity to detect life signs on distant planets in as little as 60 hours, according to early calculations.
“What really surprised me about the results is that we may realistically find signs of life on other planets in the next 5 to 10 years,” said Caprice Phillips, a graduate student at the Ohio State University.Also on rt.com Astronomers catalogue 1,000 worlds that can ‘see’ Earth – and are candidates for possible COLONIZATION
Phillips is due to present at the 2021 APS April Meeting on Sunday, to discuss exactly how the new eye in the sky might detect biosignatures on distant gas dwarf planets, which include both super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.
Phillips calculated that once the James Webb Space telescope becomes operational after its expected launch in October, it could detect ammonia signatures on approximately six gas dwarf planets in a matter of just a few orbits.
A million mile trip into space requires careful packing. 🧳Engineers have successfully folded and packed #NASAWebb's sunshield — a heat protector the size of a tennis court. Read more about Webb's latest update at @northropgrumman: https://t.co/m0debfql4Mpic.twitter.com/pzX3swlxqU— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) April 7, 2021
The presence of ammonia is just one potential biosignature that astrobiologists consider in the ongoing search for life elsewhere in the universe, but the JWST’s improved infrared resolution and sensitivity and wider array of investigative long-range sensors will afford humanity an unprecedented view of the universe around us.Also on rt.com ‘No earthly fireworks display can compete’: Hubble beams back unreal footage of supernova explosion 70mn light years away
Gas dwarfs are among the many contenders that could well host the first life humanity might encounter outside of our own pale blue dot and the JWST could well be the tool that brings us into a new era of space exploration.
Using a Deep Space Network emulator, Webb completed an important test simulating the process of sending and receiving data from its scientific instruments in early 2021. Read more: https://t.co/OH893c8zpUpic.twitter.com/8TyJZ03j97— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) April 14, 2021
Phillips and her colleagues have already produced a ranked list of top contenders for the highly advanced telescope to inspect, based on their estimated cloud cover, chemical composition and atmospheric conditions.
Happy #WorldArtDay! 🎨Launching later this year, #NASAWebb is an awe-inspiring blend of engineering, science & art. This video tribute features some of the beautiful #JWSTArt you've sent us. ❤️ See our complete gallery: https://t.co/y57POSQEbmpic.twitter.com/ezaZz9TWOK— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) April 15, 2021
“Humankind has contemplated the questions, ‘Are we alone? What is life? Is life elsewhere similar to us?’” Phillips says.
“My research suggests that for the first time, we have the scientific knowledge and technological capabilities to realistically begin to find the answers to these questions.”
The JWST will peer into the distant past by observing far-away galaxies and other remote objects out in the wider universe, so even if it doesn’t find alien lifesigns right away, it will help humanity answer other fundamental questions about the origin and nature of the universe.
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