Biosignatures

Latest news about alien life

JWST Explores Possible Sign of Alien Life on Exoplanet K2-18 b

May 20, 2024, 6:30 p.m. • Syfy • (4 Minute Read)
In a recent study, doubts have been raised about the detection of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) on the exoplanet K2-18 b by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The planet, located 120 light-years away, has long been of interest due to its potential habitability. Initial readings suggested the presence of DMS, a compound typically produced by living organisms on Earth, hinting at the possibility of alien life. However, a new study from the University of California, Riverside has cast uncertainty on this detection, suggesting that DMS might not accumulate to detectable levels in the planet's hydrogen-based atmosphere. Despite these doubts, researchers maintain that the possibility of biosignatures on K2-18 b remains, and upcoming observations by JWST are still anticipated to provide further insights. As the search for alien life continues, scientists remain eager to uncover more about these distant worlds.

SETI and the search for extraterrestrial life | San Marcos Record

May 14, 2024, 5 a.m. • San Marcos Daily Record • (2 Minute Read)

Chenoa Tremblay, a project scientist at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, recently led a discussion on the search for extraterrestrial life at the Math in Space event at Texas State University. She emphasized the significance of mathematics in this quest, highlighting its crucial role in astronomy and astrophysics. Tremblay also shed light on the work being done with the Commensal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster on the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, which aims to scan the sky for technosignatures indicative of extraterrestrial intelligence. Despite the vastness of space and the limited search coverage thus far, efforts in the search for extraterrestrial life continue to expand with private funding and collaborations, showing a determined commitment to this ongoing pursuit.

A Fresh Take On The Search for Extraterrestrial Life - Astrobiology

May 12, 2024, 8:16 p.m. • Astrobiology News • (3 Minute Read)

In the search for extraterrestrial life, researchers at the University of Chicago Marine Biology Laboratory have taken a fresh approach by studying purple bacteria as potential biosignatures for detecting life on other planets. Lead author Ligia F. Coelho, a postdoctoral associate at the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, collaborated with colleagues to analyze the spectral signatures of diverse purple bacteria and model how exoplanets would appear if covered in these organisms. The study, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, challenges the conventional focus on single, green photosynthetic species and offers a new perspective on the potential diversity of microbial life on other planets. This innovative approach underscores the importance of considering a wider range of microbial communities in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Alien Oceans Exposed! Scientists Discover Gases That Could Prove Life on Waterworld Planets!

May 8, 2024, 6:30 p.m. • AlienLife.net • (1 Minute Read)
Researchers have developed models to detect biogenic sulfur gases, like dimethyl sulfide (DMS), as potential biosignatures on sub-Neptune exoplanets with water-rich interiors and hydrogen-rich atmospheres. This study, inspired by recent JWST observations of K2-18 b, used 3D circulation and 2D photochemical models to simulate the atmospheres of these "Hycean" worlds. Findings suggest that DMS could be detectable in the mid-infrared spectrum, provided biological sulfur emissions are at least 20 times those of Earth. However, the overlap of DMS with methane at certain wavelengths poses a challenge for detection using current spectral analysis methods.

Did the Webb Telescope Find Alien Life on Exoplanet K2-18b? Here's What We Know

May 8, 2024, 2:49 a.m. • SciTechDaily • (4 Minute Read)

Recently, reports of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) detecting signs of life on the exoplanet K2-18b garnered excitement. However, a study from UC Riverside challenges this finding. While K2-18b exhibits conditions that could support life, the presence of biosignature gases, specifically dimethyl sulfide (DMS), remains uncertain. Although initial data suggested the presence of DMS, the researchers argue that the signal overlaps with methane, making it difficult to confirm the existence of DMS. Nevertheless, the researchers recognize the possibility of DMS accumulating to detectable levels and anticipate the JWST's future use of an instrument better suited for such detections. This study highlights the difficulties of detecting life on distant exoplanets and emphasizes the need for improved detection techniques.

Extraterrestrial Life Detected by the James Webb Space Telescope: New Analysis

May 6, 2024, 4 a.m. • Techno-Science.net • (4 Minute Read)

The James Webb Space Telescope has potentially detected signs of extraverted life on the exoplanet K2-18 b, around 120 light-years away. This planet, with potential oceanic characteristics, has shown traces of carbon dioxide and methane and may be a hycean planet covered with oceans under a hydrogen-rich atmosphere. Researchers are particularly intrigued by the potential presence of dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a compound produced by phytoplankton on Earth. However, a second analysis conducted by scientists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) suggests that the data may not be conclusive due to the overlap of the DMS signal with methane. Despite the uncertainty, this preliminary investigation emphasizes the importance of studying hycean worlds, providing opportunities for future discoveries.

James Webb detects signs of life on exoplanet K2-18b

May 5, 2024, 3:58 p.m. • Earth.com • (3 Minute Read)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has reported potential signs of life on the exoplanet K2-18b, generating excitement in the scientific community and among the public. Biosignatures, such as specific chemical compounds and atmospheric compositions, are crucial in the search for extraterrestrial life. K2-18b's location in the habitable zone and its potential for liquid water make it an intriguing target. Although initial reports of detecting dimethyl sulfide (DMS) sparked interest, a study from UC Riverside emphasizes the need for cautious interpretation of the data due to the challenges of remote analysis and weak signals. Despite this, the possibility of life on K2-18b remains, and further observations with advanced instruments are crucial for reaching a definitive conclusion. The pursuit of potentially identifying life beyond Earth underscores the meticulous process within the scientific community.

Did the James Webb Space Telescope really find life beyond Earth? Scientists aren't so sure

May 3, 2024, 4:30 p.m. • Space.com • (4 Minute Read)

Recent reports of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) detecting signs of life on the potential ocean world K2-18 b are being re-examined by scientists from the University of California Riverside (UCR). While the initial excitement around the potential detection of life signs on K2-18 b started in 2023 when the JWST detected potential "biosignature" elements in the atmosphere of the exoplanet, recent research suggests that the detection of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) was inconclusive. Scientists are urging caution and further observations with the JWST to confirm the presence of DMS in the atmosphere of K2-18 b. While this investigation has not confirmed the presence of life, it represents a step forward in understanding hycean worlds, which are promising targets in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Aliens are already 'hitchhiking between planets', new research suggests

April 29, 2024, 11:08 a.m. • Irish Star • (6 Minute Read)

New research suggests that aliens are hitchhiking between planets, supporting the panspermia hypothesis, which proposes that life's building blocks are widespread and can travel through space. This theory has been debated for centuries, with Greek philosophers proposing the idea of life existing everywhere in the universe and being transported between planets as seeds. Recent research suggests that life could start on one planet and spread to others via meteorites acting as transport vehicles. The study identifies a group of nearby planets with similar aspects to ours, indicating potential for containing life. While the findings are yet to be peer-reviewed, they offer an intriguing perspective on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, adding to the growing support for the panspermia hypothesis.

Gaiasignatures: A new way to search for alien life

April 25, 2024, 9:07 p.m. • Big Think • (4 Minute Read)

In the search for life beyond Earth, scientists are exploring a new approach known as "gaiasignatures." Traditionally, researchers have sought biosignatures—elements, molecules, or substances indicative of life. However, doubts have arisen regarding their reliability as evidence of extraterrestrial life. In a recent paper, Dr. Michael L. Wong and his colleagues propose focusing on "gaiasignatures," signs of an actively reorganized planetary structure by life. They suggest this approach could involve evaluating planetary atmospheric chemical networks or measuring the statistical complexity of global features. Additionally, the researchers argue for a broader definition of "Earthlike" planets, considering dynamic processes rather than physical features. While current telescopes may not yet detect gaiasignatures, this new perspective aims to provoke discussions and broaden the search for alien life.

A New Study Says Maybe Aliens Already Terraformed Other Planets

April 18, 2024, 3:45 p.m. • Popular Mechanics • (2 Minute Read)

In a recent study, scientists speculate that searching for clusters of similar planets could aid in the search for extraterrestrial life. The study explores the idea that advanced alien civilizations may have already terraformed other planets in a manner similar to what humans are currently considering for Mars. The paper investigates two modes of planet colonization—panspermia and terraformation—and suggests that correlations between planetary characteristics and location can function as a population-scale agnostic biosignature. While this expands the scope of the search for extraterrestrial life, it still faces limitations such as the need for advanced telescopes to detect biosignatures in exoplanet atmospheres and a limited understanding of how life forms in the first place. If the scientific community one day detects a suspicious similarity among a collection of planets, it could potentially be evidence of extraterrestrial life at work.

Exploring New Frontiers: Purple Could Be the Signature Color of Life on Exoplanets

April 17, 2024, 4:48 p.m. • AlienLife.net • (2 Minute Read)
Scientists have shifted the search for extraterrestrial life to include purple bacteria, suggesting that these organisms could be prevalent on exoplanets, especially those orbiting M-type stars. Traditional green landscapes, associated with oxygenic photosynthesis, are now complemented by models showing purple bacteria dominating exoplanetary surfaces. This broadens potential biosignatures detectable with upcoming powerful telescopes. By expanding our understanding of life-supporting conditions to encompass anoxic environments and different light spectra, researchers enhance our ability to detect and understand diverse life forms across the universe, potentially identifying new, habitable worlds marked by their distinctive purple hue.

In The Search For Alien Life, Purple May Be The New Green - Astrobiology

April 17, 2024, 1:34 a.m. • Astrobiology News • (4 Minute Read)

In the search for alien life, scientists from Cornell University have suggested that purple may be the new green when it comes to identifying potential biosignatures on exoplanets. Rather than looking for the familiar green hue associated with Earth's plant life, the researchers propose that purple pigments from bacteria using infrared radiation for photosynthesis could serve as a distinctive indicator of life on other worlds. These bacteria, known as purple bacteria, come in a range of colors and could thrive in a variety of conditions, making them strong contenders for dominating different environments. By creating models and databases for signs of life, the study aims to ensure that telescopes can detect life forms that may not resemble those found on Earth. The research opens up the possibility of finding alien life in unique forms and revolutionizing our understanding of life in the universe. The study was supported by grants from the Fulbright Schuman grant, the Brinson Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

If Alien Life Is Found, How Should Scientists Break the News?

April 15, 2024, 11:03 a.m. • Scientific American • (7 Minute Read)

In a recent workshop, researchers and journalists debated the best way to announce a potential discovery of extraterrestrial life and discussed the implications and reactions that may arise. The multidisciplinary gathering included astrobiologists, journalists, science communicators, ethicists, and artists, aiming to bridge the knowledge gap and plan for potential future findings. The workshop considered historical cases of extraterrestrial news, such as the controversial Allan Hills meteorite, and emphasized the importance of transparency, including discussing uncertainty and the ongoing process of confirmation. The participants also tackled the challenge of conveying complex scientific information to the public while acknowledging the likelihood of mixed messages and misinformation. The workshop concluded with the recognition that despite efforts to communicate responsibly, unexpected and overinflated claims are inevitable when it comes to potentially groundbreaking discoveries. Sarah Scoles, a Colorado-based science journalist and the author of multiple science-related books, facilitated the workshop and underscored the need for preparedness in handling potential misinformation and unexpected reactions to future discoveries. The workshop's discussions echoed the consensus that clear, transparent communication is vital for conveying the ongoing scientific process and acknowledging the potential for misinformation, even in carefully crafted messages.

Researchers Propose New Method for Detecting Extraterrestrial Life Across Galaxies

April 15, 2024, 6 a.m. • AlienLife.net • (2 Minute Read)
In a novel study, scientists Harrison B. Smith and Lana Sinapayen from the Earth-Life Science Institute propose a new method for detecting extraterrestrial life that does not rely on Earth-centric biosignatures. Instead, their model uses statistical patterns from the process of panspermia and terraformation across planetary systems. By analyzing the correlations between planetary characteristics and spatial distributions, the researchers identify clusters of potentially life-altered planets without presupposing specific life forms or environmental conditions. This approach could revolutionize the search for life in the universe by focusing on life's effects rather than its direct manifestations.

AI and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: New Perspectives on the Final Frontier

April 14, 2024, 8:03 p.m. • elblog.pl • (14 Minute Read)

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has taken on new dimensions with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) systems such as ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. These advanced AI systems are diligently analyzing astronomical data, scientific postulations, and historical patterns, offering fresh perspectives on the prospect of encountering intelligent life beyond Earth. AI models suggest the existence of billions of potentially habitable planets within the Milky Way, expanding our chances of discovering extraterrestrial existence. However, the immense distance between stellar systems remains a formidable barrier to direct contact, and AI conjectures that any contact may likely occur through the capturing of electromagnetic signals, such as radio transmissions. Nonetheless, AI projections propose a spectrum of possible attitudes and behaviors of alien entities, ranging from friendly to hostile or indifferent. While AI does not provide concrete answers to the specifics of extraterrestrial arrival or mannerisms, it offers compelling speculations that challenge beliefs and expand the realm of possibilities for humanity. Additionally, AI technology is anticipated to play an indispensable role in identifying signs of extraterrestrial life and analyzing atmospheric data for biosignatures. However, significant challenges in discerning false positives from true signals of extraterrestrial origin, as well as ethical and philosophical discussions, surround the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. AI is also expected to facilitate global cooperation in reacting to an extraterrestrial discovery. Nevertheless, the integration of AI into the search for extraterrestrial intelligence comes with both advantages and disadvantages. While AI can process vast datasets more efficiently and refine algorithms for unbiased analysis, it can also inaccurately identify natural phenomena as signs of intelligent life, lead to unforeseen consequences, and face inherent challenges in understanding the nuances of astrobiological data.

We may have found a new telltale sign of alien life

April 11, 2024, 10:54 a.m. • Metro.co.uk • (3 Minute Read)

A potential new telltale sign of alien life has been proposed by two astronomers in Japan. Lana Sinapayen and Harrison Smith conducted a computer simulation that suggests alien life may leave a distinct trail as it spreads across the universe. Their findings, available on the pre-print database ArXiv, propose that similarities between planets could hint at the spread of life, independent of assumptions about particular instances of life or planetary characteristics. However, associate professor David Armstrong cautioned that the lookalike planets could also be explained by similar materials. The quest for identifying alien life outside the solar system continues, with the need for better telescopes emphasized.

Scientists role-played Earth as a distant alien world. Here's why

April 2, 2024, 10:23 p.m. • Interesting Engineering • (4 Minute Read)

A recent experiment saw a team of physicists from the University of Zurich, led by Sascha Quanz, analyzing Earth as if it were a distant exoplanet. This exercise was part of the LIFE project, which aims to search for alien life beyond our solar system. By simulating observations of Earth using real empirical data, the team validated the techniques and methodology for future analyses of exoplanets. The study's findings may have significant implications for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The LIFE mission, founded in 2017, aims to deploy a network of five satellites to observe exoplanets and is expected to provide insights into the potential habitability and existence of alien life beyond our solar system. The team's work demonstrates the methodology needed for successful alien life detection, though challenges remain to be addressed before projects like LIFE become fully operational. Quanz and his team believe that we may find signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life in our lifetimes, desiring to address the fundamental question of whether we are alone in the universe.

A Proposal For Enhancing Technosignature Search Toward The Galactic Center - Astrobiology

April 2, 2024, 8:25 p.m. • Astrobiology News • (2 Minute Read)

In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal, researcher Naoki Seto proposes an innovative approach to enhancing the search for technosignatures - indications of advanced technological civilizations - toward the Galactic center. Seto suggests using the clockwork orbital motions of stars around the Sgr A∗ black hole to determine the distance to the Galactic center with exceptional accuracy. By employing a prominent object such as the bright B-type star S2 as a precise reference point, the search directions around the Galactic center could be significantly compressed. This approach could potentially advance the search for intelligent life in the remote and vast expanse of the Milky Way galaxy. The study's findings open up new possibilities for coordinated signaling schemes and systematic communication between potential senders and searchers in the cosmos. This proposal marks a significant step forward in the ongoing quest to explore the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence within our galaxy.

Search For Gravitationally Lensed Interstellar Transmissions - Astrobiology

April 2, 2024, 7:55 p.m. • Astrobiology News • (3 Minute Read)

In the pursuit of detecting interstellar transmissions using gravitationally lensed phenomena, a recent study has revealed that the most efficient reception occurs when the transmitter, lens, and receiver are nearly aligned. The research explores diverse strategies for signal detection, incorporating existing and emerging technologies. The findings also suggest that signals from nearby stars could be detected using established photonics and optical engineering technologies, along with collaborative astronomical facilities. This advancement in understanding interstellar power transmission through gravitational lensing significantly contributes to ongoing efforts in optical SETI and supports the feasibility of such transmissions. The study, led by Slava G. Turyshev, provides valuable insights for the astrobiology and SETI communities.