A leading Swiss astrophysicist shared his optimism that extraterrestrial life could be discovered outside our solar system within 25 years.
< p>Sascha Quantz, professor of astrophysics at ETH Zurich, presented his vision at the opening ceremony of the university's new Center for the Origin and Propagation of Life.
“My goal is to find life outside the solar system, and yes, that will be a big challenge. I have 25 years to do it…but let me walk you through it and explain why I don't think it's unrealistic,” said Professor Quantz.
He further explained that the mission began at 1995, when the first planet outside our solar system, Dimidium, was discovered. In a short time since then, more than 5,000 exoplanets have been discovered and scientists are finding new ones almost every day.
“Statistically, every star has a planet, and many of these planets are Earth-like in size. So many of them are separated from the star, where the energy they receive from the star is very similar to that which the Earth receives from the Sun,” says Quantz.
According to him, however, it is still difficult to say whether these planets have an atmosphere and whether they can support life as we know it .
Professor Quantz says a big breakthrough could come with the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) currently under construction in Chile's Atacama Desert. Once operational by the end of this decade, the ELT will have a 39-meter-wide main mirror, which the professor notes is significantly larger than that of the JWST.
“The main purpose of the instrument is to take the first image of a terrestrial planet beyond our potentially Earth-like solar system around one of the closest stars,” he added.
Eventually, scientists hope to get images of dozens of exoplanets and insights into their atmospheres. He suggested that once a promising candidate was identified, the rest of the work could be done by the European Space Agency mission.
He added that this would likely involve studying the composition of exoplanet atmospheres and assessing whether they were altered by the living organisms, just as biological life changes our atmosphere on Earth.
“I believe that, ultimately, working together will allow us to empirically assess whether some of the terrestrial planets will show signs of biological activity outside the solar system over the next 25 years,” he concluded.
Previously, Cursor wrote that scientists told how you can detect alien worlds. When it comes to finding newly born planets that are tens, if not hundreds, or even thousands of light-years away, astronomers are not often lucky.
Cursor reported that astronomers told when they could collide a pair of supermassive black holes. The strange behavior of a galaxy a billion light-years away suggests that one of the most anticipated events in modern astronomy may occur in it.
Scientists have been reported to have revealed whether the Earth might leave our solar system. Astronomers say that the planets as they exist now are in stable orbits around the Sun, but an event could occur that will change everything.
Recall that scientists have found a new way to unravel the mysteries of the universe. The first dark matter detector in the Southern Hemisphere is officially opened.