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04th May 2024

Cambridge scientist discovers signs of alien life

Ryan Price

The humble professor could be about to become one of the most famous people in the planet.

Nikku Madhusudhan, a Professor of Astrophysics and Exoplanetary Science at the University of Cambridge, believes he has discovered alien life on an exoplanet 120 light years away from Earth.

In an interview with LBC‘s Tom Swarbrick, the academic revealed that the chances of there being life on the faraway planet are at ’50/50’.

The James Webb Space Telescope, which is owned by NASA and designed to conduct infrared astronomy, is currently observing the planet in question.

According to Madhusudhan, the analysis will take a few months, but that early indications suggest the discovery could be “potentially groundbreaking”.

The breakthrough follows the discovery of carbon dioxide on the planet during scans last year.

In July 2022, the high-resolution and high-sensitivity instrument unearthed El Gordo, a galaxy cluster that existed 6.2 billion years after the big bang and is located about 7.3 billion light-years away from earth.

The pivotal moment of Professor Madhusudhan’s research came when he discovered the existence of the gas dimethyl sulfide on the planet, which is an organosulfur compound that is produced only from the presence of life.

As the professor explains: “The gas is mainly found in the earth’s oceans and is known to be a robust biomarker if detected in planetary environments.”

In other words, the presence of this gas on this planet suggests both human life and the possibility of there being at least one ocean under it’s atmosphere.

Referencing on the moment he made the discovery, Professor Madhusudhan said: “The search for biomarkers elsewhere is a profound activity, because the ramifications to society are enormous. Even if we detect the molecule we have to be really sure its there and from life on another planet.

He continued: “There are many false positives that can happen, but the prospect of that being there has enormous ramifications because the search for life elsewhere has been one of the longest quests in the history of human-kind. If this is when it’s finally going to come through, it’s a momentous occasion and we don’t take it lightly.”

The excited scientist also mentioned that he couldn’t sleep for a week after making the discovery.

On the NASA website, space enthusiasts and those whose interest have been peaked by the discovery of Professor Madhusudhan can take a virtual tour of the James Webb Space Telescope and can scroll through a list of images of discoveries already made by the intelligent device.

The planet in question is estimated to be about two and a half times the size of earth.

Towards the end of the interview, Swarbrick tells the professor “You could be the most famous person in the world soon”, to which he replies: “I just want to find the truth and leave it at that.”

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