Since 1992, astronomers have discovered nearly 5,000 exoplanets and estimate that in the Milky Way alone, the number is in the billions. Regarding these statistics, it is sometimes imagined that there are planets that are truly similar to Earth, waiting to be discovered.
The planet may have good land, the atmosphere supports creatures to breathe, the water flows and is full of plants. However, even with the James Webb telescope, finding such a perfect planet is still difficult.
"The telescope can only determine its size, mass, distance from the star, temperature with a rough estimate and under certain conditions, the molecules in the atmosphere. Scientists are not sure how many planetary candidates are really Earth-like," said Popular Science, quoted by detikINET.
The James Webb telescope would have more sophistication, with larger glass and instruments with sharper focus far away. However, if there is potential for life on a planet, such as ammonia in the atmosphere, much remains to be done to determine if the planet is similar to Earth.
"You can"t just say you"ve found life. Further observations need to be made to make sure the signs are there. It"s an ambiguous process because rockets can"t be flown there right away," said Caprice Phillips of Ohio State University.
It is possible that in the future, the new generation of telescopes will be so much more sophisticated than the James Webb telescope that the hunt for new Earths may yield even more definite results.
"Future telescopes may find a small rocky world with an atmosphere consisting of oxygen, methane and carbon dioxide. In other words, an atmosphere that reminds us of home, on Earth," said NASA.