Space Missions

Latest news about alien life

Alien Contact Possible Soon? Answers Lie In NASA's Mission To Jupiter

May 6, 2024, 1:21 a.m. • Times Now • (8 Minute Read)

In a surprising revelation, renowned astrologer Seth Shostak from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project has predicted that contact with intelligent aliens is likely to happen by 2036. Shostak confidently expressed this belief during a Reddit ask-me-anything (AMA) session, indicating the strong motivation in the scientific community to communicate with extraterrestrial life. NASA scientists are already racing to achieve the first contact with aliens, with the agency's mission to Jupiter's moon scheduled for 2030. Furthermore, signals sent by NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) to the Pioneer 10 satellite in 1972 may have already reached potential alien civilizations. The SETI project's optimism is rooted in the projected increase in interstellar communication reaching different parts of the universe, potentially making contact with aliens a reality in the near future.

Renowned Astronomer Predicts Proof of Extraterrestrial Life Within a Decade

March 31, 2024, 3:21 a.m. • yTech • (3 Minute Read)

Renowned astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger, director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, has made an optimistic prediction regarding the discovery of extraterrestrial life. In her lecture in Whanganui, New Zealand, Kaltenegger expressed confidence that evidence of life on distant planets may emerge within the next decade, based on recent advancements in telescope technology and her scientific work with NASA and the European Space Agency. She emphasized the potential of contemporary telescopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, to examine exoplanets in detail, with conditions that could support life. Kaltenegger's perspective on the profound impact of discovering life beyond Earth and its implications for humanity was well-received by the audience in New Zealand. The article also provides insights into the astronomical industry's role in the search for extraterrestrial life, its anticipated growth, and the challenges it faces.

Meet EELS: NASA's Trailblazing Autonomous Snake-Bot for Alien Seas

March 29, 2024, 2:44 p.m. • yTech • (3 Minute Read)

NASA scientists are advancing the frontiers of space exploration with the creation of a serpentine robot, capable of enduring the extraterrestrial conditions of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Engineered for autonomy, the Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS) is expected to delve into the icy depths where life might exist, navigating through the moon’s geological uncertainties with its segmental, flexible design. The cleverly designed robot boasts an impressive length of over 14 feet, with a specialized “perception head” adorned with sensors and cameras to make sense of its surroundings. Its technology-packed head includes tools for vision such as LiDAR and stereo cameras, complemented by a barometer for environmental awareness. The EELS robot must rely on its intelligent decision-making system for self-navigation due to the remote and isolated landscapes of Enceladus’ subsurface oceans. Enceladus is a prime candidate for this mission as previous probes hint at its capability to support life, partly due to the presence of mid-ocean geological activity spotted by the Cassini probe. The observed jets, shooting plumes of water into space, also signify points of entry for EELS to access these hidden seas. While the initial tests involved simulations within glacial conditions on Earth, the EELS project promises to accomplish more than interplanetary exploration. Its adaptability could be vital in investigating Earth’s own extreme ecosystems, providing us with a glimpse into the operational prowess of such advanced robotic technology before it journeys to the moons of Saturn.

Alien Life Within Our Reach: Breakthrough Discovery Reveals Hidden Microbial Worlds in Icy Moon Plumes

March 26, 2024, 5:43 a.m. • • (2 Minute Read)
Scientists have made a groundbreaking advancement in the search for extraterrestrial life, particularly on icy moons like Enceladus and Europa. Recent laboratory experiments have demonstrated the potential for future space missions, equipped with advanced mass spectrometers, to identify microbial materials within the ice grains these moons emit into space. This technique, simulating conditions future missions might face, highlights the ability to detect even fractional parts of a bacterial cell in individual grains. This innovation marks a significant leap in astrobiology, potentially making the discovery of alien life more achievable than previously imagined, by directly analyzing the chemical diversity ejected from subsurface oceans.

Biology Club Hosts Discussion About Alien Life

March 21, 2024, 2 p.m. • Exponent • (2 Minute Read)

The Biology Club at UW-Platteville recently held a discussion on the possibility of alien life. The club members believe that alien life may not resemble the stereotypical depictions seen in the media, but could exist in microscopic forms or as larger organisms adapted to extreme environments. The discussion also touched on the Drake equation, which estimates the number of active communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the universe. Factors such as the presence of essential elements, access to water and energy, and planetary conditions are crucial for sustaining life. While it is currently only possible to speculate about life beyond Earth, technological advancements and space missions may soon provide answers to this age-old question.

Protein fragments ID two new 'extremophile' microbes--and may help find alien life

March 15, 2024, 4:08 p.m. • • (5 Minute Read)

Researchers have announced the discovery of two new types of extremophile microorganisms, which are perfectly adapted to survive in extreme environments on Earth. These findings reveal that by studying how these extremophiles survive in hostile conditions, scientists can gain insights into potential life forms on other planets. The study, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, describes a new method for more accurate extremophile identification based on protein fragments instead of genetic material. This technique identified two new hardy bacteria from high-altitude lakes in Chile. The researchers believe that this proteotyping method could someday help astrobiologists search for and identify extraterrestrial life and better explore the biodiversity on our own planet (ACS, 2024).

Future Mission To Find Extraterrestrial Life Finds Its First Biosignatures - On Earth

March 8, 2024, 11:20 a.m. • IFLScience • (4 Minute Read)

A network of satellites designed to search for signs of life beyond our solar system, known as the Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (LIFE), has successfully detected biosignatures on Earth. The researchers tested the viability of their techniques by analyzing data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite. The study confirmed that LIFE would be able to detect key chemical compounds, such as carbon dioxide, ozone, and methane, in Earth's atmosphere to distances of at least 33 light years. The team's findings suggest that future missions using similar techniques could assess whether nearby terrestrial exoplanets are habitable or even inhabited. Although the study also identified challenges, such as the need for extensive observation time, it represents a significant step toward potentially discovering extraterrestrial life.

A satellite network of five near JWST will search for alien life

Feb. 28, 2024, 12:42 p.m. • Interesting Engineering • (2 Minute Read)

In a groundbreaking mission to search for signs of extraterrestrial life, the Large Interferometer For Exoplanets (LIFE) initiative has developed a satellite network of five spacecraft that will closely orbit the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at Lagrange Point 2. The mission aims to take detailed infrared readings of Earth-like exoplanets in distant solar systems, with the capability to analyze their atmospheric composition. In a recent experiment led by physicists from the University of Zurich, the team successfully tested the satellite network's ability to detect signs of life by observing Earth as an exoplanet. Their findings demonstrated that the LIFE mission has the potential to identify chemical compounds indicative of life on distant exoplanets, marking a significant step forward in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Earth Can Be Used as a Guinea Pig to Search for Extraterrestrial Life with This New Telescope, Astronomers Say

Feb. 27, 2024, 12:52 p.m. • The Debrief • (2 Minute Read)

A team of researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich has recently published a study that could significantly advance the ability to detect extraterrestrial life on exoplanets, by using Earth as a model. The study focuses on the Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (LIFE) space mission, designed to directly measure the mid-infrared spectrum of terrestrial habitable zone exoplanets. By simulating how LIFE would observe an exoplanet, researchers validated the mission’s ability to detect signs of life. The study also highlighted the complexity of Earth's atmosphere, suggesting a need to reevaluate the data collected from other studies. Prof. Sascha Quanz expressed the importance of using Earth to test future equipment. This marks a pivotal moment in our quest to understand our place in the universe and potentially find signs of extraterrestrial life.

Revolutionizing the Search for Alien Worlds: LIFE Mission's Groundbreaking Approach

Feb. 26, 2024, 12:28 p.m. • BNN Breaking • (2 Minute Read)

In a world captivated by the question of whether we are alone in the universe, a collaborative effort between researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich has brought us one step closer to finding an answer. They've turned their gaze back to our own planet, leveraging Earth as a test subject to refine the techniques destined for the LIFE (Large Interferometer for Exoplanets) space mission. This innovative approach aims to scan the cosmos for signs of habitability and, ultimately, life beyond our solar system. By observing Earth's atmospheric emission spectra in the mid-infrared range, the team utilized data from NASA's Aqua Earth observation satellite to detect key indicators of habitability. These include the presence of atmospheric gases such as CO2, water, ozone, and methane. The experiment, designed to mimic how LIFE would analyze distant exoplanets, successfully demonstrated the mission's potential to discern conditions conducive to water—a fundamental criterion for life as we know it. The LIFE initiative represents a collective endeavor to extend our reach into the cosmos, combining the prowess of a network of five satellites and the capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope. The strategy is clear: analyze the light spectra of Earth-like exoplanets to search for chemical signatures that could indicate the presence of life. This recent study, published in The Astrophysical Journal, underscores the mission's promise to accurately assess exoplanet habitability, despite the inherent challenges of observation geometry and seasonal variations. This breakthrough serves not only as a validation of the LIFE mission's planned procedures but also as a beacon of hope in the perennial quest to answer the age-old question of extraterrestrial existence. With this approach, scientists are poised to conduct a more nuanced exploration of distant worlds, potentially identifying planets that share the Earth's life-supporting characteristics. The implications of such discoveries are profound, promising to reshape our understanding of life in the universe and our place within it. As humanity stands on the cusp of this new era in exoplanet research, the LIFE mission encapsulates our unyielding spirit of exploration and our eternal quest for knowledge. The journey to discover other worlds akin to our own is fraught with challenges, yet it is a testament to our collective ambition to reach beyond the known and embrace the mysteries of the cosmos.

The Habitable Worlds Observatory: Could It Reveal Alien Life?

Jan. 23, 2024, 11:17 p.m. • Popular Mechanics • (4 Minute Read)

NASA's next major mission after the James Webb Space Telescope is the Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO), aimed at searching for signs of alien life on planets orbiting other stars. The observatory will address the limitations of the James Webb by focusing on habitable worlds, and it will combine technologies such as a giant mirror and a sunshade or coronagraph to directly image at least 25 planets outside the solar system. In addition to its search for extraterrestrial life, the HWO will function as a premiere astronomical observatory, studying properties of galaxies, cosmic explosions, and star-forming regions. The project is currently in the design and planning stages, with astronomers collaborating to determine science goals and technology requirements, and it's expected to be launched in at least two decades.

Extraterrestrial Origins: Unveiling the Mystery of UAPs and Interstellar Objects

Dec. 15, 2023, 6 p.m. • • (2 Minute Read)
In a compelling study by Avi Loeb and Sean M. Kirkpatrick, the mysterious nature of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) and interstellar objects is examined, suggesting possible extraterrestrial origins. The research, inspired by the unique characteristics of the interstellar object 'Oumuamua, explores the concept of miniature extraterrestrial probes, termed "dandelion seeds," which could explore Earth undetected. These probes, potentially utilizing solar radiation for power and liquid water for fuel, underscore the importance of advanced detection techniques. This groundbreaking work pushes the boundaries of our understanding of the cosmos, highlighting the need for multidisciplinary scientific exploration in unraveling these cosmic mysteries.

SETI is searching for alien life at previously unexplored frequencies

Dec. 12, 2023, 2 p.m. • • (4 Minute Read)

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is seeking to detect alien life at previously unexplored frequencies. While the vastness of the universe suggests the potential for abundant life, the immense distances between stars complicate the search. SETI has traditionally focused on radio frequencies above 600 MHz, but a recent survey has expanded the search to lower frequencies using the Low Frequency Array (Lofar). This new survey, operating from 10-250 MHz, covered 44 exoplanets over two summers, employing innovative methods to mitigate radio frequency interference. Although no signs of intelligent life were found, the search continues with the hope of making groundbreaking discoveries. The survey also has the potential for investigating other astronomical objects, such as pulsars and fast radio bursts.

Scientists explore radio waves in search of alien communication

Dec. 10, 2023, 4 p.m. • Daily Minute Mirror • (2 Minute Read)

Researchers and astronomers have been exploring the radio wave spectrum in their quest to detect potential signals from intelligent extraterrestrial life. Traditionally, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has focused on scanning higher frequencies, but a paradigm shift is underway as scientists now venture into the relatively uncharted territory of radio frequencies below 1 GHz. This change in focus is based on the understanding that advanced civilizations, if attempting to communicate, might utilize signals that stand out amidst the natural background noise. A recent study led by Professor Evan Keane showcased the potential of exploring low-frequency signals in the 110–190 MHz range, a spectrum that has seen limited exploration due to challenges like ionospheric interference. Although no definitive signals from intelligent extraterrestrial life have been detected, the commitment to exploring new segments of the radio spectrum signals a renewed vigor in the SETI community, offering a new chapter in the exploration of the universe and the potential for life beyond Earth.

Why don't we see robotic civilizations rapidly expanding across the universe?

Nov. 29, 2023, 8:38 p.m. • • (9 Minute Read)

The article explores the Fermi Paradox, the question of why robotic civilizations haven't rapidly expanded across the universe. It delves into various proposed resolutions, including the Hart-Tipler Conjecture, suggesting that extraterrestrial civilizations may not exist and the challenges of space travel could limit their expansion. Mathematician Daniel Vallstrom's recent study examines how artificial intelligence may also be motivated to avoid spreading across the galaxy, providing a possible explanation for why we haven't seen them. The article raises interesting questions about the nature of advanced civilizations and their potential impact, offering new avenues for research and exploration in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Could Extraterrestrial Life Arise Via a Comet?

Nov. 23, 2023, 12:50 p.m. • The Messenger • (3 Minute Read)

A new study by a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge proposes the idea that comets could deliver the crucial building blocks for life to planets. This theory suggests that comets carry carbon-based molecules, essential for life, and may survive the impact with a planet. The study focuses on the conditions required for these molecules to survive the impact, including factors such as the mass of the planet, the mass of the star it orbits, and its location in a crowded area of space. While the research is still in its early stages, it could help narrow down the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe, providing guidance for future astronomical observations.

'Holy grail of astrobiology': Scientists turn to AI to detect extraterrestrial life in space

Oct. 16, 2023, 7 a.m. • IndiaTimes • (2 Minute Read)

Scientists at the Carnegie Science Center in the US have developed an AI-driven method to search for extraterrestrial life in space, aiming to achieve a 90% accuracy rate. Led by Robert Hazen, the team's AI tool can differentiate between human and non-human samples, including specimens from Mars and other planets. The researchers are planning to deploy this technology on upcoming space missions, such as NASA's mission to Mars, with the goal of definitively detecting extraterrestrial life. Their approach combines pyrolysis GC-MS measurements of various carbonaceous materials with machine-learning-based classification to differentiate between samples of abiotic and biotic origins, marking a significant advancement in astrobiology. This AI-driven approach represents a landmark development in the quest for extraterrestrial life, a pursuit that has fascinated humanity for centuries.

The Harvard professor who thinks aliens exist

March 27, 2023, 7 a.m. • UnHerd • (12 Minute Read)

Renowned Harvard Professor Avi Loeb has been tracking mysterious objects in our solar system for years, and has recently made the case for the existence of extraterrestrial life. In an interview with Florence Read, he explained the anomalies of the unidentified interstellar object 'Oumuamua, initially thought to be a rock. The object's extreme shape and peculiar behavior led Loeb to suggest it could be of artificial origin. He also discussed the possibility of a parent craft releasing small probes, and proposed the importance of a space mission to study such objects. Additionally, Loeb highlighted the potential capabilities of highly advanced alien civilizations and emphasized the need for open-minded scientific inquiry to explore the possibility of extraterrestrial technology. Through his work and insights, Loeb aims to encourage a spirit of curiosity and innovation in the scientific community, challenging existing paradigms and promoting open dialogue on the subject of alien existence.