The advent of more powerful telescopes will allow researchers to take a better look at nearby exoplanets, learning more about their composition and tracking down signs of alien life. A new study aims to approach nearby exoplanets from the point of view that is different from the current terra-centric strategy, which prioritizes the observation of planets that are similar to Earth.
During the study, the researchers observed that microbes could withstand and flourish in an atmosphere that is rich in hydrogen. A hydrogen-rich atmosphere is quite different in comparison to the one which can be found around Earth and which contains impressive amounts of nitrogen and oxygen.
Hydrogen is lighter than oxygen and nitrogen. An atmosphere that contains a high amount of hydrogen would be considerably larger, a trait that would make it considerably easier to spot with the help of a powerful telescope. The upcoming James Web Space Telescope is one of the tools that could be harnessed by researchers to explore planets were hydrogen is abundant.
Alien Life Can Thrive On Hydrogen-rich Exoplanets
According to the lead researchers, there are a variety of exoplanets that can be found in space, and it is important to avoid unnecessary dismissals, especially since life forms found on Earth can also survive in atmospheres that are rich in hydrogen. Hydrogen-rich planets should be added to the list of suitable candidates for future research as life may prosper on them.
During the study, the researchers explored the way in which two types of microbes could survive in an environment that contained pure hydrogen and nothing else. Escherichia Coli and yeast were selected as suitable candidates.
Both types of microbes have been researched extensively in the past, and the results were on par with the expectations of the researchers, as they survived and thrived in the test environment without problems, suggesting that alien life can also live on hydrogen-rich exoplanets. The study has been published in a scientific journal.