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Extraterrestrial Life Outside The Solar System

2084 words - 9 pages

The hunt for life elsewhere within the Solar System: how have scientists searched for life in the Solar System in the past and how do they plan to do this in the future?

Over many decades, and for many years to come, scientists have tried and failed at searching for life elsewhere within the Solar System. The first sign of life in the Solar System was found in 1995 when Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz from the Geneva Observatory miraculously discovered the first planet orbiting a star. When looking for life in the Solar System there are three ingredients that are vital to indicate life: liquid water, gases (mainly oxygen) and an energy source. When discussing life in the solar system ...view middle of the document...

Roughly one and a half thousand years later, Galileo found spots on the Sun plus he distinguished the movement of the mountains and seas of the moon through his telescope; could these be indicators for life elsewhere? After these findings by Galileo, people strongly believed the moon “hosted living beings” (Genta and Rycroft, 2003) but this idea was cut short when scientists sadly proved the moon had no atmosphere; for a planet to have life it must have an atmosphere. When searching for life in the past, scientists used 2 different types of method. The first method was sending space probes out with Earth and following its journey around specific planets. A space probe has helped scientists understand more about the solar system and is used to give a rough idea to a possible indication of life on other planets. Space probes are unmanned spacecraft which gathers information to help scientists be aware of the weather and other changes which happen out with our planet Earth. Moreover, space probes are sent to the solar system with enough energy to fly though the gravitational field of planet earth and the advanced technology built in helps the space probe find its way around the solar system. Some space probes fly out to the Solar System and do not return to earth whilst others stay within in the solar system and orbit around a specific planet for a long period of time. Space probes which orbit around a planet helps scientists have took snapshots of the planet for scientists to study and decide whether or not life could be present there however analysing the data provided by the space probe takes months, even years but because the chances of life to be found elsewhere is thin, to find life by using space probes scientists have to wait for ‘interstellar exploration missions’ (Genta and Rycroft, 2003) which lead to the creation to search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) instead of searching for extraterrestrial life(Drake and Sobel, 1992). The change in searching from extraterrestrial life to extraterrestrial intelligence may help scientists gain more results as searching for extraterrestrial life proves much easier to accumulate plus life, means something is living, intelligence is looking for signs that something has lived or is living without actually seeing it therefore, if something is found when searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, scientists could astonishingly find life elsewhere within the solar system. To search for extraterrestrial intelligence, scientists use radio telescopes to try and pick up transmissions from planets orbiting stars out with Earth. Some of the research carried out by scientists has been conducted in the visible and near infrared part in the electromagnetic spectrum, most of the SETI experiments have been conducted by scanning our sky using the complex radio telescopes for a possible signal of direct contact from other species. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been based around two...

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