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NASA Form a New Framework to Find Aliens

NASA scientists are calling for a new framework in the search for alien life. The agency on Wednesday recapped the contents of a new article published in Nature. The article was led by NASA chief scientist Jim Green.

The group added that creating a scale for evaluating and combining different lines of evidence would help to provide context for findings related to the search for life. The scientists offered a sample scale as a starting point for discussions among anyone who would use it though they envision one informed by decades of experience in astrobiology.

The scale presented contains seven levels that NASA said are reflective of the winding, complicated staircase of steps that would lead to scientists declaring they’ve found life beyond Earth. Green and the team used NASA Technology Readiness Level scale as an example. Green said in a statement that having a scale like this will help us understand where we are in terms of the search for life in particular locations, and in terms of the capabilities of missions and technologies that help us in that quest.

Initial detections would be supplemented with information regarding whether the environment in question could support life and rule out non-biological sources at the fourth level and additional and independent detection would be required to reach level five.  Level six includes future observations that rule out alternative hypotheses that were proposed following the original announcement.  Level seven, the highest level on the scale, would include independent follow-up observations of predicted biological behavior in the environment in question.

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