New methane detector to help hunt life on planets outside solar system
Washington: Researchers from University College London (UCL) has developed a powerful new model to hunt life on planets outside solar system by focusing on methane.
The researchers have developed a new spectrum for `hot` methane which could be used to detect the molecule at temperatures above that of Earth, up to 1,500K/1220 degree Celsius.
Professor Jonathan Tennyson, from UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy and co-author of the study said that the current models of methane were incomplete that lead to a severe underestimation of methane levels on planets.
Tennyson asserted that they anticipated their new model will have a big impact on the future study of planets and `cool` stars external to their solar system that would potentially help the scientists identify the signs of extraterrestrial life.
Lead author of the study, Dr Sergei Yurchenko, (UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy) added that the comprehensive spectrum they had created had only been possible with the astounding power of modern supercomputers which were needed for the billions of lines required for the modeling.
The study is published in PNAS.
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