One feature of the Webb Space Telescope that its predecessor, the Hubble, is incapable of is the ability to study planets orbiting distant stars and also to detect life on them by searching and identifying biosignatures.
In the new work, scientists explored the possibility of using the Webb Space Telescope to search for industrial pollutants in the atmospheres of exoplanets.
Astronomers paid special attention to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). On Earth, they are produced on an industrial scale as refrigerants and cleaning agents.
It is known that CFCs had already created a huge hole in the Earth’s ozone layer in the 1980s before an international ban on their use came into force.
Scientists are confident that if they find traces of these powerful greenhouse emissions, which are distinguished by a long residence time in the atmosphere, they will discover alien life.
“It is almost certain that CFCs will emerge as a result of the life of a civilization – intelligent life capable of rampant industrialization,” the authors of the study note.