Signatures of Life on Distant Planets

The science of discovering planets around distant stars has made great leaps in recent years, thousands have been found. Of course, what we’re all waiting for is the discovery of life on any such planet, especially intelligent life. In order to find signs of life from a telescope, there would have to be something about the atmosphere that indicated life. 1-heavynitrogeBelieve it or not, such work has been advancing for awhile, and a new article this week provides another example. It could be that sometime soon an announcement will be made that such a signature has been found on one of the many exoplanets we’ve discovered.

Of course, what would be really great, would be to discover intelligent life on one of those exoplanets. I think most people reading this will be familiar with SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which started a long time ago with the search for radio signals from intelligent life outside our solar system. It is disappointing that nothing has been found so far, even baffling, and this failure has become known as “The Great Silence.” But there are signatures other than radio which might indicate alien intelligence.

31C3eoQqzXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Techno-signatures are indications of intelligent life, other than radio, that might be detected from Earth. The idea was first raised in The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence by Paul Davies. The signatures could be anything from unique atmospheres characteristic of technological civilizations, to artificially created light sources, to detectable mega-structures like Dyson Spheres (occasional thought to have been discovered), and others. Adding these types of signatures to the mix opens up a much broader search, and greater hope that intelligent life will be discovered soon.

5 thoughts

  1. Nicely written.
    SETI, unfortunately, has been a disappointment thus far.
    With unrivaled deftness and clarity Carl Sagan wrote that they ARE out there, only the distances are just so vast it’s highly unlikely Earth and another intelligent species on a planet orbiting a distant star would ever make contact.
    As he put it, we would not only have to be looking in the right direction, we would also have to be near the same stage of evolution and possess the same technology.
    I believe they are out there, but I also see the logic in Carl’s statement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As I recently tweeted @redroundelf, if they are any thing like us, they are probably not advertising. We are not, and it seems unlikely that mankind will do that any time soon. It’s not cheap and we might have second thoughts. If we are found, it will be unintentional. That is the problem with the Great Silence. For some reason, we assume as doe Davies, that advanced civilizations want to be found,

    Liked by 1 person

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