NASA has been on the search for alien life on other planets within our solar system for decades. They released a statement today that they are creating a special project to search for extraterrestrial life. This news comes just weeks after NASA predicted mankind would find life outside of earth after its never-ending search for alien life. The new inter-disciplinary group will be called NASA Exoplanet System Science, or NExSS.
NExSS will bring together a wide group of professionals from researchers and scientists to begin an adventure of a lifetime by studying the various components that could result in extraterrestrial life forms. The team consists of scientists from top name universities such as Yale, Berkeley, and UCLA, to name a few. Since 1995, NASA has found more than 1,000 exoplanets and has been studying which ones have the potential to be habitable and show any signs of life.
Teams Each Have a Different Focus in Search for Alien Life
The team from Yale will design spectrometers that examine nearby planets and stars that can signify potential for life. Another team will be focusing on geochemical cycles and different chemical compositions to see if life would be a possibility. There are over sixteen teams of scientists joining the adventure of this project: The Goddard Institute for Space Studies will be studying the climate model to see if the climate would work out for life on those exoplanets. This team found five planets to be close in size to Earth, located in a habitable zone. Even liquid water was available on these planets. They will continue to study other things such as light passing through the atmosphere as well as other requirements required for life to exist.
The Ultimate Goal for NExSS
The goal for NExSS in the search for alien life, is to learn more about how the possible life-sustaining planets’ stars and nearby planets them could help them support life. Scientists will work together to understand how biology interacts with oceans, geology, and the interior of the planet, and stars to contribute to the possibility of life. NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan thinks that they will find strong indications of life on other planets within the next decade in their search for alien life, and definite evidence within 20 to 30 years. They expect to find alien life by 2025.
Part of the adventure will aided by NASA with the expected launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite in 2017, which will help discover thousands of other stars in the galaxy that regular satellites haven’t been able to pick up. The James Webb Space Telescope that can measure the spectrum of starlight in atmosphere is scheduled for 2018.
Even amidst the research done in the search for alien life, there is promising research that may help protect nature as well as climate change in order to ensure life on Earth stays thriving. There is a team working with parameters fixed to the Earth to see if it’s possible that a 24-hour, 365-day lifespan is relevant on other planets. The models they have now cannot support life, but may have an adequate supply of water to support life in the near (relatively) future. All of the teams have one goal in mind: to mix and match key factors in determining what planets, if any, could support life, and to create a database that NASA could use to further study the atmospheres of those planets.
While it isn’t always exoplanetary, humans have a real need to look up in the sky, and go up and above the atmosphere as seen in this 1st episode of Wanderlust “Up in the Air”: