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Astronomers seek signs of alien terraforming on ‘Snowball Earths’

Astronomers are setting their sights on a new target in the search for extraterrestrial life: terraformed “Snowball Earths.”

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These planets, which may have undergone deliberate climate engineering, could offer unique opportunities to find signs of alien civilizations. The concept stems from Earth’s own history when our planet experienced global glaciation events known as “Snowball Earth” periods.

These frozen epochs, occurring hundreds of millions of years ago, saw Earth’s surface entirely or nearly entirely covered in ice. Life, however, persisted in refuges such as volcanic hotspots and areas with high geothermal activity, reports

Scientists believe that if alien civilizations exist and have the technological prowess to terraform their planets, they might choose to transform these frozen worlds into habitable environments. This terraforming could potentially leave detectable signatures for us to observe from Earth.

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The idea is to look for exoplanets that appear to have been artificially warmed, leading to partial deglaciation. Detecting such changes would involve identifying unusual patterns in a planet’s climate or atmosphere that couldn’t be easily explained by natural processes alone.

For instance, a planet with a significant portion of its ice cover mysteriously melted away might suggest the influence of advanced technology. These signs could be detected through various astronomical techniques, including the study of a planet’s atmospheric composition and surface temperatures.

The search for terraformed Snowball Earths represents an exciting frontier in the broader quest to find extraterrestrial life.

Traditionally, astronomers have focused on finding Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of their stars, where liquid water could exist naturally. However, this new approach broadens the scope by considering planets that might not naturally support life but have been modified by intelligent beings to become habitable.

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The study of terraformed Snowball Earths is still in its early stages, but it holds great promise. This line of research is part of a growing field known as technosignature searches. Unlike biosignatures, which look for signs of life itself, technosignatures seek evidence of advanced technologies used by alien civilizations.

This includes everything from the atmospheric pollutants of industrial activity to large-scale structures like Dyson spheres.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.