HomeWONDERNatureThe journey with the Hubble Space Telescope. The path to extraterrestrial life.

The journey with the Hubble Space Telescope. The path to extraterrestrial life.


What if I told you that the Hubble Space Telescope recently performed exceptionally well? It was a one-of-a-kind space mission during a total lunar eclipse. The outcomes of that science experiment have delighted the scientists who conducted it. Because of that experiment conducted by the Hubble Space Telescope, we can now determine whether or not there is life on distant planets. If you are interested in Astro-nomy, you should be familiar with it. In conjunction with the total lunar eclipse that occurred on January 19, 2019, NASA researchers used the Hubble Space-Telescope to determine the exact location of the Earth’s ozone layer for the first time. The Hubble Space Telescope did not directly see the Earth in this instance. Astronomers, on the other hand, use the moon as a mirror.

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Because, during a total lunar eclipse, sunlight that travels through the Earth’s atmosphere is reflected off the moon and returns to the Earth. The eclipse is also known as a total solar eclipse. When it comes close to the core of the Earth and the Moon, the Hubble Space Telescope will observe it. The incoming light acts as a mirror, reflecting the Earth’s atmospheric composition to the observer. Even though this method has been tried before from Earth, this is the first time that a space telescope has observed ultraviolet light travelling through the atmosphere and arriving on Earth. In that test, the measurements gathered revealed that the ozone layer on our planet had a distinct spectral fingerprint, clearly visible.

What is the nature of this spectral fingerprint? If this is not clarified, it will be a significant flaw in the system. Researchers have discovered that researching how ultraviolet light interacts with chemical molecules can help them understand what substances are present on the surface of a particular planet. Examples include the absorption and reflection of UV light by the ozone molecules. Thus, UV spectroscopic technology makes it possible to quickly ascertain the makeup of an individual planet’s atmospheric composition. With this technology, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to determine the unique characteristics of the ozone layer in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Photosynthetic activities that have occurred and continue to occur on our planet for billions of years are responsible for the presence of oxygen and ozone in the atmosphere. Logicians believe that if there is ozone and oxygen on another planet, there may be living in that world. Although it is possible to detect ozone on planets circling other stars outside your solar system, doing so is difficult. On Earth, it is impossible to observe such UV tests. This is because the Earth’s atmosphere prevents ultraviolet radiation from reaching the planet’s surface. As a result, this type of observation can only be made with a space telescope.

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We are all aware that NASA’s primary goal is to locate a habitable planet capable of supporting life. We do not know if there is ozone in the ozone layer of planets that are millions of light-years distant. Thus, we cannot test this hypothesis. It is only when an asteroid passes in front of its parent star that it is possible to get a sense of the atmosphere’s composition surrounding the asteroid in question. It is referred to as the transition in astronomy. The light from the parent planet is transmitted to the planet through its atmosphere in this situation. As previously stated, the varying absorption and reflection of light by different chemicals in the atmosphere allows us to learn about the atmosphere’s composition through a test of grace, which can be used to determine the design of the atmosphere. This is because each gas has a unique spectral fingerprint.

Image credits: discovermagazine.com

Astronomers have seen the atmospheres of several asteroids of this type using the Hubble Space Telescope. However, compared to gaseous planets, rocks like ours are far smaller. Aside from that, they have an atmosphere as thin as four onions. As a result, spectral testing makes it more challenging to determine the global composition of the samples. As a result, scientists plan to launch the James Webb space telescope, which will be equipped with cutting-edge technology shortly. So far, the only living rocky planet that a space telescope has viewed is Earth, and we are the only one. Because of this, it was agreed to use the Earth to test for ozone first, rather than hunting for it in extraterrestrial atmospheres first.

Image credits: newscientist.com

During a total lunar eclipse, the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth are in the proper positions. Thus, this is remarkably comparable to the transitional phase of an extraterrestrial planet in terms of structure and function. Ozone detection in the Earth’s atmosphere proved to be particularly challenging for the Hubble Space Telescope, in particular. This is because the moon is not a reflector with maximum effectiveness of 100 per cent. There are several bright and dark areas throughout it. As a result, the moon is so close to the Earth it appears to be moving at breakneck speed. As a result, maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope’s location in one of the moon’s names proved difficult.

Image credits: telescope.live

After all of these difficulties were overcome. However, the test was successfully finished. It will be possible to determine whether or not life exists on an extraterrestrial planet in the future.



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