Don’t Expect Aliens Anytime Soon: NASA Scientists Discuss The Challenges James Webb Faces In the Hunt For ET | Space

The search for extraterrestrial life is one of humanity’s most profound quests, and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) stands at the forefront of this exploration. 

However, despite being the most sophisticated space telescope ever built, NASA scientists recently discussed the monumental challenges James Webb faces in identifying definitive signs of life beyond our solar system.

“We currently know of around 30 planets that may be small, rocky planets like Earth and that orbit in the habitable zone,” Drs. Knicole Colón and Christopher Stark, project scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, explained in a recent NASA blog post. “However, there is no guarantee that a planet that orbits in the habitable zone actually is habitable (it could support life), let alone inhabited (it currently supports life).”

“At the time of writing, there is only one known habitable and inhabited planet – Earth!”

Exoplanets, planets that orbit stars outside our solar system, are abundant in our galaxy. Some of these planets reside in the “habitable zone of their stars, where conditions might be right for liquid water to exist—a crucial ingredient for life as we know it.

The JWST employs transmission spectroscopy to study exoplanet atmospheres. This method involves observing the starlight that passes through a planet’s…


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