If there is plenty of methane and carbon dioxide on a planet with water at its surface, but no carbon monoxide, then it is highly likely that there is life presence, according to a paper recently published in Science Advances.
Professors from the University of Washington, U.S. reach this conclusion by studying the atmospheric contents of Earth at different stages of its course of development.
This finding has provided a novel method to detect life on an exoplanet.
For a long time, the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of a planet has been believed to be evidence of possible life existence.
With the James Webb Space Telescope set to be launched in 2019, David Catling, co-author of the paper and professor of Earth and space sciences, said in a positive tone that the finding "may lead to the historic discovery of an extraterrestrial biosphere in the not-too-distant future."