SAN FRANCISCO, iNews.id – The universe is a big place, so scientists want to narrow their search for life alien. You do this by looking for radio signals, large buildings, or a friendly climate. Now, another sign of alien life is being considered: atmospheric pollution.
Hypothetically, if there was an alien civilization out there, then their activities and industries might have been as polluting as ours. That pollution could be something we can see on our scans in space.
A new study suggests nitrogen dioxide gas (NO2) could indicate life on other planets. Gas can be produced from burning fossil fuels, as well as from lighting, volcanoes, and other non-industrial biological sources.
“On Earth, most of the nitrogen dioxide is emitted from human activities, combustion processes such as vehicle emissions and fossil fuel power generation. “Observing NO2 on a habitable planet has the potential to suggest an industrial civilization,” said astrobiologist Ravi Kopparapu, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Science Alert, Monday (15/2/2021).
The presence of NO2 is called a technosignature, a technological sign on exoplanet outside the Solar System. Even though these planets are too far away to send an investigation, scientists can study them through our increasingly powerful telescopes.
The new study doesn’t involve any observations, but researchers have used computer models to calculate what the NO2 technology signature looks like, and whether our telescopes can see it based on how nitrogen dioxide absorbs and reflects light.
Editor: Dini Listiyani