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The search for sentient alien life on other worlds has hit a speed bump, according to a new study from researchers in Germany. Scientists scan planets for certain biomarkers to confirm whether there’s a possiblity for alien life habitation. One of those markers is the presence of ozone. But, as the new research reports, ozone can get locked near the equators of exoplanets like Proxima b and Trappist 1 D. This has made it even more difficult to identify whether these planets are already inhabited.

“Absence of traces of ozone in future observations does not have to mean there is no oxygen at all,” says the study’s lead author Ludmila Carone from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, NBC News reports.

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Category: Science