Several new telescopes will be ready for use in the following years, with the James Web Space Telescope (JWST) being one of the most anticipated tools.
New research argues that the most suitable places for tracking down biosignatures are rocky planets that orbit around white dwarf stars. Astronomers hope that JWST will help them track down alien life.
White dwarfs are old stars that have shrunk, attracting nearby material. Since white dwarfs are considerably fainter in comparison to regular stars, researchers can analyze it and other objects without the interference of the bright light that is generated by regular stars.
As white dwarfs are older, it is also likely that life had a better chance to evolve as time passed. A new study argues that the planet which orbit this type of stars have a higher chance of being rocky and similar to Earth.
Alien life might reside on rocky planets orbiting white dwarfs, and JWST might be helpful
The existence of rocky planets which orbit white dwarfs is also interesting since, in most cases, the size of the star is on par with that of planets which are similar to Earth. The team of researchers wants to learn if life could appear and evolve on such planets when the star is younger and if life can survive after the transition towards a white dwarf takes place.
Several tests have to be passed before the James Webb Space Telescope will be launched in 2021. The telescope was designed as a replacement for the aging Hubble Telescope, which remains the most important space telescope that is still operational, as it continues to provide interesting information.
It is hoped that researchers may employ the improved capabilities of the JWST to uncover some of the enigmas of the universe and take a better look at many objects which have raised interest over the years. The spacecraft will also have the ability to examine the presence of specific components in the atmosphere of exoplanets, which is essential for searching for alien life.