JPL Astronomer Assesses Challenges of Finding Life Elsewhere

This artist's conception shows a hypothetical twin Earth orbiting a Sun-like star. This artist's conception shows a hypothetical twin Earth orbiting a Sun-like star. A new study shows that characterizing a distant Earth's atmosphere will be difficult, even using next-generation technology like the James Webb Space Telescope. If an Earth-like world is nearby, though, then by adding observations of a number of transits, astronomers should be able to detect biomarkers like methane or ozone.
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March 19, 2009

New research co-led by JPL's Wes Traub discusses how and where NASA's James Webb Space Telescope might look for signs of life.
Harvard-Smithsonian release



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