The search for extraterrestrial civilizations remains an exotic but not neglected task in astronomy. Although most scientists and organizations are skeptical, they do not rule out the possibility and have different ideas on how to look for other worlds.
A study by NASA’s Goddard Space Center offers a new idea in searching for aliens – to monitor indicators of industrial pollution. Scientists suggest that when an exoplanet with potential living conditions is found, an analysis of nitrogen dioxide levels should be made.
Most of the Earth’s nitrogen dioxide is a result of human activity and is among the main indicators of pollution. Scientists suggest analyzing the planets for the presence of such a compound and, if it is in larger quantities, to make a more thorough check for the presence of an alien civilization.
Another idea is to monitor for the presence of various compounds that are not a consequence of the normal biological activity. The disadvantage of both approaches is that there may be a civilization that does not use technologies known to mankind and may not generate pollution that can be detected by available technologies.
Scientists are aware of this but believe that it is better to have more methods and indicators put to use. They will also help create better computer models and make it easier for the new generation of telescopes to search for and detect signs.
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