One of the greatest unsolved mysteries of planet Earth revolves around the existence of extraterrestrial life. From doubtful sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects (or UFOs) and suspicions of secret government activities to the frequent speculations that Gods are nothing but aliens who arrived on Earth in ancient times, there has been infinite debates – with none coming to a definite answer.
Astronomers have been successful in creating a supercomputer that is 2,000 time more stronger than any of its predecessor. This supercomputer, or absorption spectrum, is able to detect methane at a maximum temperature of 2,228°F via light absorption on other planets. Methane has been an extremely important component when it comes to finding life on other planets. But why methane, all of a sudden? An organic compound, methane is not just a sign of geologic activity, but also a product of biologic sources. Simply put, presence of methane in the atmosphere of other planets can be a potential sign of life.
The primary targets of the supercomputer are not the extremely hostile planets like HD 189733b. Rather, it will start its journey by focusing on planets that have tight orbits, and block a lot of light because of their large size. Sergei Yurchenko has led the team that calculated the programming of the supercomputer. According to him, astronomers have been in dire need of more advanced technology that could enable them to find habitable conditions on alien planets. The problem with the previous versions was their inability to reach planets that were “too hot”. With this supercomputer in place, astronomers can now get a clearer and better idea.
But the work is still not complete for Yurchenko and his team. They are constantly modifying the model so that its functionality can be enhanced ever more. So, all we can do for now is wait and hope that the unending debate about aliens’ existence will find a closure.