Spotting fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions could help offer new approach in the search of extraterrestrial life, a new study has found.
The study by theorists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) shows that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) should be able to detect two kinds of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) -- ozone-destroying chemicals used in solvents and aerosols.
Henry Lin said they consider industrial pollution as a sign of intelligent life, but perhaps civilizations more advanced than them, with their own SETI programs, will consider pollution as a sign of unintelligent life since it's not smart to contaminate your own air.
The team notes that a white dwarf might be a better place to look for life than previously thought, since recent observations found planets in similar environments. Those planets could have survived the bloating of a dying star during its red giant phase, or have formed from the material shed during the star's death throes.
The study was published online in The Astrophysical Journal.