The James Webb telescope could help astronomers spot extraterrestrial life

The ingredients for life are spread across the universe. While Earth is the only known place in the universe for life, detecting life beyond Earth is a… important goal from modern astronomy and planetary science.

We are two scientists studying exoplanets and astrobiology. Thanks in large part to next-generation telescopes like James Webb, researchers like us will soon be able to measure the chemical makeup of atmospheres of planets around other stars. The hope is that one or more of these planets will have a chemical signature of life.

A diagram with green bands around stars.