Are we alone in the universe? This question haunts researchers of all time. Scientists have repeatedly put forward various theories about exactly how an alien life can reveal its presence on a particular exoplanet. Reflecting on this, researchers from Cornell University put forward their very original theory.
Why do some organisms know how to glow?
Almost every one of us saw fireflies andknows that these tiny creatures can glow in the dark. In addition, not only some insects are able to fluoresce, but also fish, squid, bacteria and many other creatures. They do this for various reasons, which include attracting partners, camouflage, lure, and marking the territory.
In nature, there is another type of luminescence,called "photoprotective biofluorescence." This method of emitting light is a kind of protective mechanism found in some species of underwater corals that live at a depth sufficient for the penetration of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Typically, such radiation is absorbed by coral tissue, which leads to an unpleasant and possibly fatal “sea tan”, however, deep-sea polyps were not as simple as we might think.
The thing is, cunning corals have come up with a wayprotection from the harmful radiation of the sun. In other words, biofluorescent proteins in coral tissues absorb UV radiation, exciting an electron and raising it to an unstable energy state. When an electron returns to its stable state, it re-emits radiation in the visible band of the light spectrum. As a result, UV radiation becomes harmless, and the animal fluoresces.
Scientists from Cornell believe that a similar mechanismcan be useful for any extraterrestrial life that has evolved in a not very pleasant environment, for example, in the inhabited zone of M-type stars, where a large number of exoplanets have been found.
Can planets emit light?
Imagine a little red starM-class, constantly exploding with harmful ultraviolet flashes. This unstable dwarf can maintain life on its satellite planets only if the latter have dense atmospheres that protect the local flora and fauna in one way or another. But even if there is a saving shell around the planet, destructive ultraviolet light can seriously damage the life there.
Do you think life can occur on Jupiter?
However if living alien organismsused biofluorescence for their protection, this would not only give them a chance to combat the unpleasant consequences of ultraviolet radiation, but would also create a special biosignal that could be detected by telescopes.
To test this hypothesis, a team of scientists fromCornella studied the spectral emissions of ordinary fluorescent corals and used them to obtain model spectra and colors that could be found on exoplanets orbiting M-type stars. They concluded that the strength of this glow may be sufficient for detection by telescopes, which are currently under development.
Well, it’s possible that everyone can launch the expected telescope.“James Webb” will help put everything in its place. If the theory of American scientists is correct, very soon the eternal question “Are we alone in the Universe?” May lose its thousand-year relevance.