Is there life beyond Earth? For centuries, this has remained one of the curious questions that have remained unanswerable to our scientists. Despite exploring Mars since 1975, we are yet to find any evidence of lifeform outside Earth. Are our scientists giving up on the search for extraterrestrial lifeforms? The answer is NO. In fact, we are just getting started with the search. A scientist recently reveals that we might likely discover evidence of life on exoplanets within the next 25 years. But what inspired the scientist to come up with this prediction? Are we close to unlocking a new mystery of the universe? Continue reading to find out.
Why the Researcher believes we will find evidence of life outside the solar system in the next 25 Years
Astrophysicist Sasha Quanz of Switzerland’s federal technology institute ETH Zurich has remained fascinated with the search for the existence of life outside the solar system. On September 2, during the opening ceremony of the University’s new Center for the Origin and Prevalence of Life, Quanz was opportune to speak during a press briefing.
When addressing the public, Quanz revealed an advanced project currently under development that may help scientists to discover if we are alone in the Cosmos or occupying it with extraterrestrial neighbors. Keep in mind that we have only succeeded in discovering a few exoplanets. However, Quanz remained confident that advanced technologies that will begin operation will help scientists to discover more distant exoplanets and see what lies in them.
Astronomers have estimated the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy to be more than 10 billion. Each of these stars has one or more host planets around their orbits. Quanz believed that many planets within the Milky Way Galaxy may possess similar features to sustain life just like Earth. These Earth-like exoplanets may be orbiting in the goldilocks zones of their stars, enabling them to have liquid water and habitable conditions to sustain life.
However, Quanz revealed that we do not have the current technologies to determine if these rocky exoplanets have atmosphere life on Earth. Even if they possess atmospheres, we are still unable to learn what they are made up of. We seriously have to study the atmospheric conditions of these exoplanets using futuristic technologies in the next 25 years.
What Quanz thinks of the James Webb Space Telescope
NASA James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s most sophisticated space observatory currently looking deep into the Cosmos to unveil more fascinating facts about the Universe. Despite the breakthrough observations of the Webb telescope, Quanz believes that it is still limited in giving us enough details about distanced smaller Earth-like planets.
However, the next generation space telescope was actually built to study the oldest stars in the cosmos and give birth to a new era of astronomy. If we can study the atmospheric conditions of the earth-like planets in Interstellar Space, we may be getting closer to finding life outside the solar system. But since James Webb is specially not designed to give us a detailed view of smaller Earth-like exoplanets, we have to rely on future technologies to learn more about this.
How Quanz and his team are working on finding life outside the solar system
Since James Webb Space Telescope is limited, Quanz and his team of experts are building the mid-infrared ELT imager and spectrograph (METIS) as a unique instrument that will become part of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). This futuristic instrument is currently under development at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Quanz and his team hope to complete the project by the end of this decade.
Upon completion, the mid-infrared ELT imager and spectrograph (METIS) will exist as a 130-foot-wide (40-meter) mirror. At this length, the instrument will become the biggest optical telescope ever built in the world. Quanz believes that the METIS instrument may still not be able to discover evidence of life on an exoplanet lying beyond the solar system. However, he still remains optimistic about the project they are working on.
“The primary goal of the instrument is to take the first picture of a terrestrial planet, potentially similar to Earth, around one of the very nearest stars,” stated Quanz. “But our long-term vision is to do that not only for a few stars but for dozens of stars, and to investigate the atmospheres of dozens of terrestrial exoplanets.”
Quanz reveals that a new mission name Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (LIFE), which was announced in 2017 will help advance the search for life outside the solar system. However, the mission is yet to be launched and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). Quanz is hopeful that the project will receive the appropriate attention and funding it requires to enable scientists to get started with the search for life outside the solar system.
Is this a new hope for Humanity?
No one can predict what humans will discover in deep space in the future. However, scientists like Quanz have remained optimistic about the role of future technologies in advancing the way we will continue our search for life outside the solar system. After Quanz and his team must have completed the METIS instrument, we should be looking forward to advancing the way we study distanced smaller Earth-like planets. If we successfully discover extraterrestrial lifeforms in Interstellar space in the next 25 years, humanity may be getting closer to attempting interstellar travel to connect with other civilizations. However, we are still hopeful and getting ready to see what the future holds for humanity in deep space.