A new discovery by scientists that allows us to map the transmission spectrums of inhabited planets means Earth's denizens need no longer fear sneak attacks my life forms on neighboring worlds.
Scientists from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias utilized the William Herschel Telescope on Le Palma and the Nordic Optical Telescope during a recent lunar eclipse, to examine the transmissions spectrum of Earth's atmosphere. To their surprise, it was quite obvious that Earth was inhabited. According to their press release:
The spectrum not only contained signs of life but these signs were unmistakably strong. It also contained unexpected molecular bands and the signature of the earth ionosphere.
Enric Palle, lead author of the paper, from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, said, "Now we know what the transmission spectrum of a inhabited planet looks like, we have a much better idea of how to find and recognize Earth like planets outside our solar system where life may be thriving. The information in this spectrum shows us that this is a very effective way to gather information about the biological processes that may be taking place on a planet."
This means that even when we can't see visible signs of life from far away, we should still be able to tell if there is Earth-like life existing on the planet but evading our view. It should allow us to prepare better for both future exploratory missions — and sneak attacks from mean alien races.