How to Find Aliens? Look for Pollution on Other Planets

By Brett Israel | October 19, 2009 12:25 pm

alien-webScientists have proposed what seems like an obvious solution to finding life on other planets—look for pollution similar to that found on Earth. Light or air pollution would be a dead giveaway to life on another planet, according to a study to appear in the journal Astrobiology.

Of course, this is assuming that extraterrestrial life is even remotely similar to ours, and even if it is, finding the pollution won’t be easy, according to New Scientist:

Even if all the electricity we generate was used to produce light, it would still be thousands of times fainter than the glint of sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface. To reliably detect even this massive amount of artificial light on a planet orbiting a relatively nearby star—say 15 light years away—would require an array of telescopes with a combined light-collecting area of 1.5 square kilometres….

That’s about 370 football fields’ worth of telescopes.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are another source of pollution that would be a tell-tale sign of alien life, according to the study. CFCs do not form naturally and absorb infrared light, so they could be observed from afar. But by looking for CFCs we’d have to assume aliens are dumb enough to spew the pollution into their atmosphere—in other words, that they’re as dumb as we are.

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Discoblog: Dear Aliens: Would You Like Some Processed Chips?

Image: flickr /  LabyrinthX

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Aliens Therefrom
  • Gadfly

    This would actually do nothing to indicate the presence of alien life. Only a technological society could be argued to create anything like measurable pollution. And there was life here for a heck of lot longer than there was polluting technology.

  • venica villafuerte

    there just one thing 1 wnna know bout aliens… as for now..

    are these things we called “aliens” really do exsist..?

    what are the real evidence….?

  • venica villafuerte

    i know were i can find pollution… its in our planet… maybe because of these pollution exsist in our atmosphere…maybe the cause of what other people see in the sky, like lights and other flying objects…

  • bentot

    have you ever seen an alien…?

  • IainFan

    Iain M. Banks suggest, via a character in his new “Transition” novel, to look for aliens in the path of a total solar eclipse on earth. The reasoning seems plausible: most travel is tourism, very few planets have large moons, very few (if any) planets have life, so a total solar eclipse on a planet with intelligent life should be quite rare in the universe, the “diamond ring” is a must see tourist destination. This ignores the obvious issue — we don’t know how to travel very far in the universe, and there is some good evidence that it can’t be done at all.

  • stephanie

    What is the evidince if all of this you say is real than why haven’t they come here yet? Also how can i trust these websites? Thank you for reading my to questions


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