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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope may be able to spot alien civilisations based on air pollution

It is the most powerful telescope ever launched to space that will peer back through time to the beginning of the universe.

But when NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is fully up and running by the summer, that is not the only thing it will be doing.

A new study suggests that the $10 billion (£7.4 billion) observatory may also be able to spot extraterrestrial life based on air pollution from their planets.

The study, by the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle, looked at the possibility of using JWST to search for industrial pollutants in the atmospheres of exoplanets. 

It claims that if the space telescope detects chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from alien worlds, it could indicate they are habitable – much in the same way we are identifiable here on Earth based on CFCs…


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