Thousands of stars host planets,
Giants of swirling gas,
And some that seem more earthly
In their orbits and their mass.
But each of these is distant,
Lifetimes away for certain.
How ever will we know if
There’s life upon the surface?
Light filters through their atmospheres,
When atmospheres they own.
Molecules split spectra
Into patterns that are known.
Life creates imbalances,
However strange to see,
Points to biology.
And so we have a protocol
As we gather specks of light,
Photons that passed through planets’ air
On their interstellar flight…
Will tell us if there’s oxygen,
Or methane, CO2,
Water vapor, nitrogen,
Or ozone in the brew.
And tease us with the knowledge
That, beyond our current grasp,
Creation may have left its mark,
A hand we’ll never clasp.
Inspired by an article from the latimes