Sniff out alien life with giant library of weird chemicals

Joshua Sokol | New Scientist
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The search for vital signs of life in the atmospheres of other planets has taken a new turn. EAPS Professor of Planetary Sciences Sara Seager and her team, William Bains of University of Cambridge, and Janusz Petkowski of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, have created a list of every chemical with a backbone of six or fewer atoms by linking together elements like carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and hydrogen – the most abundant elements of life. These scientists are starting with basic chemistry to expand the realm of possible biosignatures that could help us detect ET.

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