In the 1970s, NASA Vikings 1 and 2 The spacecraft touched down Tuesday Three experiments designed to detect signs of life were performed. An experiment Returned with positive results, two were negative, scientists argued for ambiguity, and astronomy was stunned.
“We haven’t made any progress in decades,” said NASA’s chief scientist James Green Says Inverse.
Green does not want to see that happen again, which is why he became one of the co – authors of a new paper published on Wednesday. In the journal Nature It suggests a new framework and scale for determining when alien evidence rises to the level of discovery.
Paper details CConfidence of Life DDiscovery, or Cold scale, Designed to not only help scientists determine how close they are to finding aliens and maintain friendships between conversations, but also to clearly communicate discoveries that lead to and involve historical discoveries such as aliens.
“We need to communicate not only with scientists, but also with scientists and the general public,” Green said. “Science is not done until it communicates.”
The newspaper says- Paper CoLD is presented as a progressive and seven-level scale for scientists looking for and evaluating evidence of extraterrestrial life. Each level is finally built to give scientists the confidence that they have discovered something remarkable by the time they reach level seven.
- Level 1: A. Discovery Signal or biosignature It refers to biological activity.
- Level 2: Eliminates pollution and conveys meaning to the environment where the signal is detected.
- Level 3: Predicts how biology will produce signal in the environment.
- Level 4: Eliminates all non-biological means of signal production.
- Level 5: Adds monitoring of independent biological signals to the initial bio signature.
- Level 6: Includes future observation that eliminates alternative ideas suggested after Level 1 discoveries.
- Level 7: Independent follow-up observations of biology in the environment confirm the presence of life.
Level 1 observations of biosignitories in this regard are rare Possibility of life on Mars. Experiments with Viking 1 in 1976 led to the discovery of bacterial metabolism, as well as possible traces of microorganisms on the meteorite on Mars – Alan Hills 84001 – Discovered in Antarctica, methane gas on Mars is detected by Earth-based telescopes.
But a bio-signature is not enough. CoLD asks scientists to take the next step and test whether that bio-signature makes sense in the environment in which it was detected and if there is anything contaminating the signal. Discovering methane on Mars is a good biosignature, Green says, because “life here creates methane like crazy”, but that doesn’t mean Mars’ volcano is active, it provides an agiotic alternative to the presence of methane.
Methane observations in the Earth’s own atmosphere may have been polluted Methane on Mars Via terrestrial telescopes.
NASA has already sent a spacecraft to expand the initial observation, which is considered to be level 2 of the CoLD scale. CuriosityIt landed on Mars in 2012 to detect methane on the surface of Mars. The methane telescope on Earth eliminated the possibility of contaminating the signal.
Level 3 of the scale requires the performance or prediction of the biosignature produced in the environment. NASA scientists are already on the lookout for life on Mars: if life exists on Mars, they know it will be beneath the surface, where it is protected from radiation, and water reservoirs are able to support metabolic activity.
If the bacteria on Mars live in underground reservoirs under the surface and produce methane, it will pass through the surface in the way NASA missions have discovered.
“Therefore known non-biological sources of the Level 4 signal will be eliminated,” says Green, dismissing any geographical or other methane sources. “Do we still have methane? Not yet. ”
That’s where future missions come in. A future mission could collect methane from Mars and measure the isotopes of carbon – carbon -12, -13, or -14 – occurring on that methane.
“Life prefers carbon-12,” says Green, but does not use carbon-13 or -14. “If we get a slug of methane and look at a lot of the isotope in it, it was all (carbon-12). [Level] Four. “
A future mission carrying a larger version of the Ingenuity helicopter could be the ideal device for such a scale, Green says. Even better, the 40-pound methane detection helicopter could fly a grid pattern over the surface of Mars to see if methane is flowing out in patterns that interact with groundwater.
It takes measurements up to level 5.
“Then (level) 6 really has it all, let’s go down and enjoy it,” says Green. “Perform a mission to search for microorganisms in these groundwater bodies.”
At that point, the presence of biology is confirmed, and Level 7 expands it.
Why is that important? – The use of the COLD scale can be useful for a number of reasons, redirecting the discussion to gain evidence that moves the discussion to the CLD scale, by sometimes redirecting heated scientific debates surrounding the detection of biosignities.
“What we find is that once someone writes a piece of paper on a bio-signature, everyone wants to attack the person instead of attacking the next step,” Green says. “It’s like policing ourselves, being careful about what we do in a way that makes progress and preventing controversy around us.”
This could directly translate into specific missions that NASA decides to support. Prior to assuming the role of Chief Scientist in 2018, Green was the Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA, where he, along with other researchers, made funding decisions for the Mars program. It would be more convenient for him to fund a project that seeks to advance research from Level 1 to Level 2 than another project that focuses on the same Level 1 biosignature detection.
“It allows us to steer our money in the right direction for progress,” Green says. “We want researchers to use a scale every time they write a paper,” he says, assessing for themselves where their work is on the CoLD scale.
What’s next? – The paper opens, “Our generation can find evidence of extraterrestrial life. Responsibility comes with these special possibilities.
Green says he would not have felt comfortable writing that sentence 10 years ago. But advances in technology and an ideological approach to the detection of extraterrestrial life have led him to believe in the importance of a scientific community that adopts a framework similar to the CoLD scale to analyze a discovery that he sees as more likely.
In addition to the ongoing Mars missions in search of further evidence, the next stage, the next stage, the scientific community will be able to measure and evaluate what else should be on the CoLD scale so that future discussions in astrobiology, perhaps the most important, can take place and communicate. Effectively.
“If we weren’t a little tough on this, we’re really delaying this great opportunity to announce solid science, which supports solid science, which is the most important claim for finding aliens,” Green says. . “I want to do it for the rest of my life.”
Summary – Our generation may be realistically discovering evidence of extraterrestrial life. Responsibility comes with these special possibilities. The scope of the question of whether we are alone in the universe and its general interest opens up the possibility of taking results to indicate more than observational support or what observers intend. As life detection goals become more important in space science, it is essential to open up a community dialogue about how information can be exchanged on a subject that is highly diverse, complex, and highly likely to be interactive. Establishing better practices for communicating life discoveries will help to establish reasonable expectations at the initial stage of a largely challenging endeavor, to give value to the increasing steps along the path, and to build public confidence that wrong beginnings and endings are expected. The productive part of the scientific process. Here we try to inspire and seed the discussion with basic considerations, and offer an example of how such considerations can be integrated and applied within a proof-of-concept-level framework. Everything mentioned here, including the name of the confidence scale, is intended not as a prescription but as the beginning of an important conversation.
Prone to fits of apathy. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Internet advocate. Avid travel enthusiast. Entrepreneur. Music expert.