Scientists have found an effective way to search for extraterrestrial life: helped broccoli

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Scientists have found an effective way search for extraterrestrial life: helped broccoli

Researchers believe that the gas emitted by this plant can tell which planets to look for life forms.

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Scientists have been searching for decades extraterrestrial life in our Milky Way galaxy. Two years ago, a chemical element was found in the atmosphere of Venus, which may indicate the presence of life on this planet, writes Forbes.

Then scientists discovered the chemical phosphine (P3), which on Earth is created only by bacteria and microbes. The discovery of this chemical element has given hope to astrobiologists that the search for extraterrestrial life will soon be crowned with success. However, hopes were not justified, and after a time of controversy, scientists came to the conclusion that the presence of phosphine on Venus should be considered only as evidence of the anomalous and inexplicable chemical composition of the planet.

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But the discovery nevertheless prompted astrobiologists to search for gases that can tell about the presence of biological life in the atmospheres of planets around red dwarfs – cold stars that make up about 70% of our entire Milky Way galaxy.

The fact is that in the process of life, all plants and organisms on Earth emit toxins in the form of a gas – in the process of methylation, they add carbon and three hydrogen atoms to a chemical element.

Scientists studied these gases, and came to the conclusion that one of the most curious would be the search for methyl bromide, which releases broccoli. According to astrobiologists, it is methyl bromide that is most effective in the search for extraterrestrial life – it remains in the atmosphere for a shorter time than traditional biosignature gases.

According to UCR planetary scientist and study author Michaela Leung, the discovery of this gas on any of the planets would indicate with a high degree of probability that it was produced recently, and that which created it still continues to produce methyl bromide. She also notes that there are not many ways to create methyl bromide, and therefore its detection with a high degree of probability will indicate the presence of life on the planet.

This gas exists on our planet, but it is difficult to detect due to solar ultraviolet light, which destroys methyl bromide. At the same time, astrobiologists are confident that this gas will be easiest to detect precisely on planets around red dwarfs, where ultraviolet radiation is not so intense.

According to study co-author, UCR astrobiologist Eddie Schwieterman, methyl bromide is just one of many gases , which could serve as effective ways to search for extraterrestrial life. According to scientists, this study is only the “tip of the iceberg”, but it is a big and important step in discovering life on other planets.