Scientists hope JWST will help detect alien life on exoplanets

Scientists hope JWST will help detect alien life on exoplanets

Scientists searching for alien life hope that an upcoming megatelescope could reveal whether any of the recently discovered 7 Earth-size planets of the TRAPPIST-1 star system have life-supporting atmospheres.

Scheduled to be launched in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be sensitive enough to detect or identify the chemical components of the exoplanets' atmospheres as these planets will be passing in front of their host star.

Exoplanet program scientist Doug Hudgins from NASA's Washington, D. C., headquarters said JWST will be the key to unlocking the secrets of the seven exoplanets in case they might be supporting life-friendly atmosphere.

Hannah Wakeford, of Maryland-based Goddard Space Flight Center, said, "These are the best Earth-sized planets for the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize, perhaps for its whole lifetime. The Webb telescope will increase the information we have about these planets immensely."

With the extended wavelength coverage, scientists will be able to find if any of the seven exoplanets of the TRAPPIST-1 star system has water, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide or oxygen.

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