Currently, the best way to look for alien life in other star systems is to look for biosignals: the presence of certain molecules in the atmospheres of distant worlds. Oxygen and methane are prime candidates for the search.
Now researchers at the University of California, Riverside have put forward the case for a different type of gas, nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.
There are several biological processes that produce this substance, and the team’s models suggest it can be detected in the atmospheres of nearby exoplanets using the James Webb Telescope (JWST).
“In a star system like TRAPPIST-1, the closest and best system for observing the atmospheres of rocky planets, nitrous oxide could potentially be detected at levels comparable to carbon dioxide or methane,” said study lead author Eddie Schwieterman, an astrobiologist at the University of California, California.
The formation of nitrous oxide is mainly due to microorganisms, some of which can use nitrate to fuel their cellular metabolism, releasing laughing gas in the process.
“Life produces nitrogen waste, which some microorganisms convert into nitrates. These nitrates build up in the aquarium, so you have to change the water,” added Schwiterman. “However, under the right conditions in the ocean, some bacteria can convert these nitrates into nitric oxide. The gas then seeps into the atmosphere.”
This is where telescopes can detect it. Previous studies ruled out the possibility of detecting nitric oxide, because there is not so much of it on Earth anymore.
However, the team of researchers believes that this conclusion does not take into account that exoplanets may have conditions more suitable for the formation of this gas. Also, stars that are dimmer than the Sun would be less likely to split this gas into its constituents.
“This conclusion does not take into account periods in the history of the Earth when ocean conditions would have allowed much greater emission of nitric oxide by organisms. Conditions during those periods may reflect where the exoplanet is today,” Schwiterman said.
The research team is confident that nitric oxide is a strong contender to look for biosignals in other parts of the galaxy.
“There has been a lot of speculation that oxygen and methane are biosignals. Few have seriously considered nitric oxide, but we think that this may be a mistake,” concluded Schwiterman.
The work was published today in the Astrophysical Journal.
Former US Air Force fighter pilot: UFOs use Star Trek-style warp drive
A former US Air Force fighter pilot asserts that he has deciphered
the method behind the extraordinary maneuvers of UFOs, reports dailystar.co.uk.
the past two decades, numerous military encounters with these enigmatic
crafts have been reported, prompting a significant investigation by the
One of the most renowned sightings occurred during the
USS Nimitz encounter, where fighter pilots witnessed a UFO descending
from 28,000 feet to just above sea level in less than a second.
astonishing movement would imply that the craft reached a staggering
speed of 19,000 miles per hour, a velocity that would be fatal to any
to Chris Lehto, a former USAF pilot, the craft exhibits two key
characteristics: it moves without inertia, essentially lacking weight,
and it accelerates at an incredibly rapid pace without affecting its
believes that the explanation lies within a technology that seems
straight out of science fiction. He proposes that the answer to the UFO
enigma lies in the Alcubierre Drive, a theoretical interstellar engine
conceptualized by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994.
Alcubierre Drive employs a form of “space warp” technology, reminiscent
of what has been depicted in episodes of Star Trek. By bending space, a
craft inside a “warp bubble” could potentially travel at or even
surpass the speed of light without violating the known laws of physics.
the Alcubierre Drive remains a hypothetical concept with challenges to
overcome, Chris notes that the required energy is no longer believed to
be unattainably large.
filed with the US patent office outline the potential workings of the
drive, as well as another groundbreaking technology theorized by
American aerospace engineer Salvatore Pais.
Pais suggests that
high-powered rotating magnets could theoretically eliminate an object’s
inertia, and he has filed a patent for a starship based on this
However, Chris maintains skepticism regarding Pais’
theory. He explains that while Pais’s patent applications for the US
Navy attracted attention for their potential energy-related
applications, doubts have been raised about their feasibility. There is
speculation that they may be scams, pseudoscience, or disinformation
intended to mislead adversaries of the United States.
rival theories propose that the “Tic Tac” UFO is a classified Pentagon
project testing similar advanced technologies discussed by Chris.
A Mysterious Earth-Like Planet Has Just Appeared in Our Solar System, Scientists Say
Scientists say they have found evidence of a new Earth-like
planet that has suddenly appeared in our Solar System and is orbiting
Physicists, including those from the National Astronomical Observatory
of Japan, said the planet is likely to be the mysterious ‘Planet Nine’
that was hypothesised to exist in the far outer edges of the Solar
Several studies in the past have suggested there is likely an
undiscovered planet beyond the Kuiper Belt – a stellar disk of materials
such as asteroids, space rocks, comets around the Sun in the outer
Solar System past the orbit of Neptune.
Independent.co.uk reports: In the new research, published recently in The Astronomical Journal, scientists
found that some of the objects in the Kuiper Belt behave in a way
indicative of the presence of a small planet among them.
One such object, they said, is about 500 astronomical units (AU) from
the Sun, where 1 AU is the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
In comparison Neptune is at a distance of 30 AUs from the Sun.
Some of these were also found to have “odd” orbits suggesting they
are being pull by the gravity of a cosmic entity larger than those that
typically influence such objects.
Computer simulations run by the scientists indicate that the most
likely explanation for the observations was another hidden planet in the
“We predict the existence of an Earth-like planet,” researchers wrote in the study.
“It is plausible that a primordial planetary body could survive in
the distant Kuiper Belt as a Kuiper Belt planet (KBP), as many such
bodies existed in the early solar system,” they added.
If such a planet exists, researchers say it would have a mass about
1.5 to 3 times that of Earth with an inclination of about 30 degrees.
They say the theorised planet’s orbit would likely place it between 250 and 500 AU from the Sun.
Researchers say the discovery of such a planet close to the Kuiper
Belt can unravel new constraints on planet formation and evolution.
“In conclusion, the results of the KBP scenario support the existence
of a yet-undiscovered planet in the far outer solar system,” scientists
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