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A digital landscape featuring an otherworldly alien planet

Extraterrestrials Are Clearly a Matter of Faith, Not Science

We can be quite sure that “They’re not out there” will never be the default hypothesis, as astrophysicist Ethan Seigel hopes

At the BBC, Pallab Ghosh had — or thought he had — the story: “Tantalising sign of possible life on faraway world.” (September 12, 2023), courtesy of the James Webb Space Telescope. A hint had been found in the data of dimethyl sulfide, produced on Earth by phytoplankton. Many writers thought that too so a number of similar stories came out. But we’re all pretty much used to the predictable next bulletin: The hope for life on planet K2-18b, 120 light years away, proved false (or anyway, premature): Based on computer models that account for the physics and chemistry of DMS, as well as the hydrogen-based atmosphere, the researchers found that it is unlikely the data show the presence of Read More ›