Found a new way to search for extraterrestrial life

We live on a huge ball. It rotates around its axis and around a giant hot star, which is located inside a galaxy located somewhere in the universe, next to trillions of such galaxies. Inside them are billions of the same burning stars and planets. At the same time, the Universe is constantly expanding and new galaxies with star systems are constantly being formed. Well, and how then to consider that we are the only life in the Universe? So scientists can’t come to terms with the fact that we do not find traces of aliens over and over again and continue to invent new ways to search for extraterrestrial organisms and civilizations. Whatever they are.

Visible exoplanets. Shot from a recently published NASA video

How are exoplanets searched?

Our planet, as Stephen Hawking once said,unremarkable and revolves around an unremarkable star. It's like that. In the coming decades, our robotic spacecraft will go to the satellites of the gas giants - Jupiter and Saturn. There, in the icy worlds, they will try to find traces of life. And it would be nice if the organisms discovered there did not turn out to be tardigrades brought there from our home planet, as it recently happened on the Moon.

Despite the fact that we are capableexploring the worlds within our solar system is amazing and makes our view truly special, but we are not able to get to more distant worlds. However, thanks to the work of scientists, we know for sure that there are many of these worlds in space. Read more amazing facts about exoplanets on our channel in Yandex.Zen.

It exists: Traces of a second planet have been discovered circling around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri

Exoplanets today call planets outsideThe solar system that revolve around other stars. Exoplanets can be very different - from gas giants several times larger than Jupiter, to ice worlds and planets similar to Mars or Earth. Today, most open exoplanets are gas giants, however, planets similar to ours are not uncommon in space. Many exoplanets rotate at such a speed that a year on them lasts only a few earth days. On some worlds, two suns rise in the morning, and some are so hot that metal can melt on their surface.

No wonder search for exoplanets todayequivalent to finding life in the universe. Previously, scientists were aimed at finding planets that are in the so-called Goldilocks zone or habitable zone. This is the optimum distance from the planet to the star to maintain an acceptable temperature (for the occurrence of life). As we see today, this search has not yet yielded results. Therefore, scientists have come up with something better.

Dwarf Star Hunt

Researchers have switched to searching for exoplanets,that revolve around cold dwarf stars. Dwarf stars come in different types, with features inherent in each of them. So, for example, yellow dwarfs are small stars, and orange dwarfs, on the contrary, are large and have a long life cycle. As it turned out, dwarf stars are excellent candidates for a new, brilliant way to search for extraterrestrial life.

In the photo a dwarf star

It was discovered that ultraviolet radiation,created by these stars can potentially wrap inhabited exoplanets with beautiful biofluorescent light. Researchers recently published their findings in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. You can discuss this and other discoveries in the field of astronomy in our Telegram chat.

Cool dwarf stars (or M stars) havelife spans trillions of years and are the most common stars in the observable universe. According to scientists, around 15-66% of all cold dwarf stars, planets revolve in the so-called “surface liquid water zone”. This is good news for astronomers and astrobiologists, because many of them are not so far from us, which makes future space missions possible. The recently launched Transiting Exoplanet Survey (TESS) telescope is expected to help find a suitable exoplanet candidate.

TESS is a space telescope designed to detect exoplanets. Currently, he has facilitated the discovery of 29 confirmed exoplanets in addition to the 1,043 candidates already discovered.

Studying the effects of radiation on the body

However, the situation is a little complicated by the fact thatM stars produce a lot of radiation. And radiation, as you know, can harm living organisms. Therefore, in the course of the study, scientists looked at how organisms cope with radiation on Earth. One of the methods is called photoprotective biofluorescence. To prevent damage from radiation, proteins absorb harmful ultraviolet waves and re-emit them as longer and safer.

Panellus astringent (Panellus stipticus) looks like this

Panellus Stipticus - A Great Examplean organism capable of exhibiting bioluminescence. It was this mushroom that was chosen by scientists for research in order to create models of the spectra and colors of earth-like planets. If this mechanism is useful for life on our planet, it can also be useful for living organisms in other parts of the universe that have had to deal with solar radiation.

It can be assumed that the nearbyexoplanets with oceans can inhabit life forms similar to terrestrial fungi or corals that use protective biofluorescence. If the surface of such a planet is covered with a highly efficient fluorescent biosphere, this can lead to its brightness increasing by two orders of magnitude compared to analog worlds without such a biosphere.

Thus, thanks to observations of mushroomson Earth and the stars within the visible Universe, scientists have invented a new way that should help us find someone else alive in this vast cosmic void. And the new TESS telescope will serve as an excellent assistant in this difficult task. So the hunt for exoplanets orbiting dwarf stars can be considered open. Who do you think lives in other worlds?