Could aliens find us with our technology?

Could aliens find us with our technology?


Imagine if aliens were looking for planets teeming with life, and their gaze fell upon Earth. Would they be able to spot us with technology similar to what we're building?

Scientists recently pondered this very question! They weren't trying to prove life exists on Earth (we already know that!), but rather, they were testing a new space mission called LIFE, designed to hunt for habitable planets around other stars.

How LIFE Would Look for Aliens (Sort Of):

An illustration shows the five spacecraft of the LIFE mission with Earth between them


LIFE will use a group of five spacecraft working together like a giant telescope to search for rocky planets similar to Earth. It will do this by looking for the faint heat signature of these planets and analysing the light passing through their atmospheres. Different gases and chemicals absorb light at specific wavelengths, leaving a kind of fingerprint. By studying this fingerprint, scientists can potentially identify things like methane, a gas often linked to biological processes.

Testing LIFE on... Earth!

Instead of using simulations, the scientists decided to test LIFE's capabilities on the one planet we know for sure has life: Earth! They used data from NASA's Aqua satellite to create a kind of "light signature" of our planet from a faraway perspective. At that distance, our beautiful landscapes would be invisible, but the overall signature would reveal a warm, potentially habitable world.

The Verdict? We Beacon (Maybe):

The analysis showed that LIFE (or a similar instrument) could successfully detect Earth from a mind-blowing distance of 30 light-years! It would also pick up on signs of gasses like methane and water vapor, both important for life as we know it. Even the geometry of how we view Earth (from the poles or the equator) wouldn't significantly impact the results.

So, What Can't LIFE See?

Unfortunately, the seasonal variations on Earth wouldn't be visible from such a distance. However, this doesn't mean LIFE can't be a valuable tool. The study suggests that even without perfect detail, LIFE and future missions can identify potentially habitable planets, opening exciting new doors in the search for extra-terrestrial life!


You’ve come this far…
Why not venture a little further into A.S.S. - our exclusive Australian Space Society. 

And keep thrusting Australia into the deep unknown…


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Supporter Merchandise

1 of 4