More powerful telescopes than NASA’s James Webb could discover aliens in 25 years, says the scientist

A government scientist said we can find alien life outside our solar system in 25 years, but current technology like the James Webb Space Telescope isn’t powerful enough to detect evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Sasha Quanz, an astrophysicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich, commented on the recent opening of the new University Center for the Origin and Prevalence of Life.

Although scientists know 5,000 exoplanets and there are still billions to be discovered just within our own galaxy, the Milky Way, we don’t know much about the atmospheres of these distant places.

«In 1995, colleague [and Noble Prize laureate] Didier Queloz discovered the first planet outside our solar system, ”Quanz said during the briefing, according to Space.com.

The 25-year time frame he’s set for finding life outside the solar system is ambitious but not “unrealistic,” according to Quanz.

A government scientist said we can find alien life outside our solar system in 25 years, but current technology like the James Webb Space Telescope isn’t powerful enough to detect evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Billions of exoplanets have yet to be discovered by scientists.  Each of the more than 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy has at least one planet in orbit

Billions of exoplanets have yet to be discovered by scientists. Each of the more than 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy has at least one planet in orbit

The James Webb telescope, which was not built specifically to observe exoplanets but instead to see the oldest stars in the universe, recently released its first direct image of an exoplanet orbiting a distant star: the giant gas HIP. 65426 b, a planet that is 12 times the size of Jupiter.

Quanz, however, explained that Webb, although the most powerful observatory ever placed in space, is not powerful enough to be able to capture much smaller, Earth-like planets that orbit close enough to their stars so that it can exist liquid water.

‘[The HIP 65426] it’s a very special system, ‘Quanz said. “It’s a gas giant planet orbiting very far from the star.

‘This is what Webb can do in terms of taking pictures of planets. We will not be able to reach the small planets. Webb isn’t powerful enough to do that. ‘

Quanz and his team are leading the development of the ELT mid-infrared (METIS) imager and spectrograph, a unique, first-of-its-kind instrument that will be part of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT)

Quanz and his team are leading the development of the ELT mid-infrared (METIS) imager and spectrograph, a unique, first-of-its-kind instrument that will be part of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT)

“What we don’t know is whether these terrestrial planets have atmospheres and what these atmospheres are made of,” Quanz said, adding that many of these exoplanets may be able to sustain life just like Earth.

However, there is cause for hope as new tools are already being built with the sole purpose of bridging this gap in James Webb’s capabilities.

Quanz and his team are leading the development of the ELT mid-infrared (METIS) imager and spectrograph, a unique, first-of-its-kind instrument that will be part of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

The ground-based instrument was built by the European Southern Observatory in Chile, ELT, and when completed towards the end of this decade, it will be equipped with a 130-foot-wide mirror, making it the largest optical telescope in the world.

“The main goal of the instrument is to take the first photo of a potentially Earth-like Earth planet around one of the closest stars,” said the astrophysicist. “But our long-term vision is to do this not just for a few stars, but for dozens of stars, and to study the atmospheres of dozens of Earth’s exoplanets.”

“What we don’t know is whether these terrestrial planets have atmospheres and what these atmospheres are made of,” Quanz said, adding that many of these exoplanets may be able to sustain life just like Earth.

‘We need to study the atmospheres of these planets. We need an observation approach that allows us to take pictures of these planets. ‘

“We need to gain a deeper understanding of the plausible building blocks of life, the paths and timing of chemical reactions and external conditions to help us prioritize target stars and planets,” he added.

“It is necessary to verify to what extent the traces of life are true bioindicators, because perhaps there are other processes that could lead to the creation of gases in these atmospheres”.

Quanz explained that Webb (above), although the most powerful observatory ever put into space, is not powerful enough to be able to capture much smaller, Earth-like planets that orbit close enough to their stars so that it can exist liquid water

Quanz explained that Webb (above), although the most powerful observatory ever put into space, is not powerful enough to be able to capture much smaller, Earth-like planets that orbit close enough to their stars so that it can exist liquid water

The James Webb telescope recently released its first direct image of an exoplanet orbiting a distant star: the giant gas giant HIP 65426 b, a planet 12 times larger than Jupiter

The James Webb telescope recently released its first direct image of an exoplanet orbiting a distant star: the giant gas giant HIP 65426 b, a planet 12 times larger than Jupiter