It would be tremendously selfish and narcissistic to think that we are alone in the Universe.
For this emotional, as you know, there are many astronomers who focus their research on the search for any form of lifetime beyond the borders of our planet. These forms of life do not necessarily have to be smart, so the discovery of even the simplest of amoebas (without offending amoebas) would make astronomers very happy.
But is the proper method being used? So far the search methods for candidate planets to harbor life are based on the necessity of the existence of the conditions that gave rise to the life on earth, like the presence of gaseous oxygen in the atmosphere. However, a group of researchers from the MIT has introduced into the game the idea of a completely different way of life than ours, which needs other totally different components to survive. This does the search more complicated Yes, it is possible, but perhaps it is the ideal method to successfully complete your inquiries.
What is your search method for extraterrestrial life based on?
Years ago suppose we were the only ones in Universe and now that we have finally accepted how unlikely it is, we started making sure that all life forms they need an atmosphere like ours to survive.
This is precisely what the astrobiologists from MIT to start a new and ambitious study in which they stop focusing on the components that have done so far and go to look for any of the chemically possible biomarkers; introducing some limits, Sure.
These biomarkers must be volatile compounds, capable of transforming into gas when entering the atmosphere; and, in turn, it is also convenient that they bestable to stay there long enough to accrue up to detectable levels.
This logically eliminates many molecules from what could initially be considered biomarkers; But, still, the list continues to be huge.
How does the algorithm that searches for extraterrestrial life work?
In order to select the right substances, they use a algorithm that combines atoms of all possible forms, until obtaining all the molecules formed by a number from 2 to 6 volumes. Among all the elements they could have chosen to combine, they took volumes of carbon, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorus and hydrogen, as they are considered essential for life and, once the molecules have been formed, they recombined them in all possible isomers (alternative conformations) that could form.
In this way, several tens of thousands of moleculesof which are removed those that do not meet the volatility and stability conditions mentioned above.
Although this may seem like a waste With time and tools similar to killing flies with gunshots, these scientists assure that if they have to choose between leaving something unseen for searching little or finding many negative cases for searching too much, they are clear that they prefer the second option; for only then can they perhaps give us the good news of having found life on other planets.
As in everything in this life, one must renew or die. The methods used so far have not allowed us to find life of any kind and if there is intelligent life, we may be interested in them too little to come looking for us, so it is best to look for new possibilities. And the MIT option is a good place to start.