Humanity has yet to find evidence of extraterrestrial life, but NASA scientists are calling for a new seven-step framework on how to corroborate claims of life beyond Earth. The seven-step scale, created in part by NASA chief scientist Jim Green, can be used as a starting point in the search for life by anyone, including scientists and communicators.
By using seven steps, it would search for life more akin to rating ‘how ready a spacecraft or technology is to fly,’ and less of a two-option summary: life or no life. The co-author of the study said that until now, we have set the public up to think there are only two options: it’s life or it’s not life. We need a better way to share the excitement of our discoveries and demonstrate how each discovery builds on the next so that we can bring the public and other scientists along on the journey.
The scale will have a huge role in NASA missions to Mars, especially in light of the fact there have been controversial announcements that life has been found on Mars. In 1996, researchers examining the Martian meteorite ALH84001 suggested they had found life in the 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite.