Scientists are interested in whether an advanced civilization can arise on any planet. They drew attention to the fact that on Earth the development of industry would be impossible without the mastery of fire. And it can burn only if there is a certain amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.
Life and civilization
Scientists continue to ponder how to find life beyond Earth. Recently, they have determined that the presence of oceans of liquid water is extremely important for its development. And they even figured out how to detect their presence at a great distance. And this time, a team of researchers from different European countries took up the problem of finding a civilization.
After all, the presence of extraterrestrial life does not mean that green men are running around somewhere out there, ready to greet us. Organisms have existed on Earth for millions of years, but human civilization arose only a few thousand years ago, and the use of machines generally lasts for several centuries.
Usually, technologically advanced life is suggested to be searched for without the help of biomarkers, i.e., characteristic chemicals. Instead, scientists are looking for technosignatures mainly in the form of radio signals.
Industry and oxygen
However, in a new study, scientists pointed out that not every planet can develop a technological civilization similar to Earth’s. Life is really not very demanding on the oxygen content of the atmosphere. Up to a certain limit, unicellular organisms can generally develop without it if there is liquid water.
And multicellular life may well exist with an oxygen content significantly lower than the 21 percent we are used to. But as soon as a creature becomes sufficiently developed to develop industry, it is faced with the need to use fire. Metal smelting, cement production, bread baking — all these processes require a chemical combustion process.
And a fire with an oxygen content in the atmosphere below 18 percent does not burn. And this means that in fact, a significant part of the planets that can support life and even allow it to acquire something like intelligence have conditions suitable for the creation of technologies.
Of course, the question of how much technological development really depends on the use of fire is still debatable. However, the researchers’ conclusion that signals from planets with very low oxygen levels should not be trusted is still not to be trusted.
According to phys.org
Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time