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Planet shine 'gives clue to life'

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posted on May, 24 2006 @ 10:42 AM

By Jonathan Amos
BBC News science reporter, in Baltimore

Nasa would have to find hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the TPF mission
Earth-like planets around distant stars may be too far away to be reached by spacecraft but scientists could still investigate whether they harbour life.

Telescope technologies are being developed that will probe the very faint light from these objects for tell-tale signs of biology.

These are the same "life markers" known to be present in light reflected off the Earth - so-called "earthshine".

They include signatures for water, and gases such as oxygen and methane.

"This gives you some information on habitability," said Wesley Traub, chief scientist on the US space agency's (Nasa) Navigator Program which specialises in the search for far-off worlds.

"These are only signs of life; they are only indicators. You can't actually detect the life itself crawling or sliming around on the surface of the planet," he told the American Geophysical Union Joint Assembly here in Baltimore, US.

maybe we can with this find out if there is life on the planets recently discovered , like the neptune like planets in an habitable setup. it will be be great to find out that somewhere on a moon or planet there is possible life even if it is plantlife ect.

MOD EDIT: New Site Tag For Quoting External Sources

[edit on 5/24/2006 by cmdrkeenkid]

posted on May, 24 2006 @ 10:57 AM
Yes, I did a research project on these kinds of telescopes back in Grade 8 - about 7 years ago. You use an Interferometer to gather light, and then block out the light from the star. You're left with just the light reflected off the planet.

However, a really good Interferometer would have to be half as long as a football field, and need to be in orbit.

In any case though, I totally think it would be worth it!

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