Results tagged “Biosignature”

The study of origins of life on Earth and the search for life on other planets are closely linked. Prebiotic chemical scenarios can help prioritize planets as targets for the search for life as we know it and can provide informative priors to help us assess the likelihood that particular spectroscopic features are evidence of life.

Ammonia (NH3) in a terrestrial planet atmosphere is generally a good biosignature gas, primarily because terrestrial planets have no significant known abiotic NH3 source.

Oxygen is a promising exoplanet biosignature due to the evolutionary advantage conferred by harnessing starlight for photosynthesis, and the apparent low likelihood of maintaining oxygen-rich atmospheres without life.

In the search for life on other planets, the presence of oxygen in a planet's atmosphere is one potential sign of biological activity that might be detected by future telescopes.

The Curious Case of Argon

In the modern search for life elsewhere in the Universe, we are broadly looking for the following: the planets similar to Earth - physical indicators of habitability, and the manifestation of life - the biological signatures.

Research for possible biosignature gases on habitable exoplanet atmosphere is accelerating. We add isoprene, C5H8, to the roster of biosignature gases. We found that formation of isoprene geochemical formation is highly thermodynamically disfavored and has no known abiotic false positives.

A research team including the geobiologist Dr. Helge Missbach from the University of Cologne has detected organic molecules and gases trapped in 3.5 billion-year-old rocks.

In their Letter, Tsiaras et al.1 reported the detection of water vapour in the atmosphere of K2-18 b, an exoplanet of 7 to 10 Earth masses located in the habitable zone of an M-dwarf star.

Photosynthesis is an ancient metabolic process that began on the early Earth, offering plentiful energy to organisms that utilize it, to the extent that they can achieve global significance. The potential exists for similar processes to operate on habitable exoplanets and result in observable biosignatures.

In the past decade, the analysis of exoplanet atmospheric spectra has revealed the presence of water vapour in almost all the planets observed, with the exception of a fraction of overcast planets.

We use an idealized three-dimensional general circulation model to study condensible-rich atmospheres with an ineffective cold trap on slowly rotating tidally locked terrestrial planets.

The disequilibrium combination of abundant methane and carbon dioxide has been proposed as a promising exoplanet biosignature that is readily detectable with upcoming telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope.

Recent analysis of the planet K2-18b has shown the presence of water vapour in its atmosphere. While the H2O detection is significant, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) WFC3 spectrum suggests three possible solutions of very different nature which can equally match the data.

Since planets around other stars (exoplanets) are so far away, scientists cannot look for signs of life by visiting these distant worlds.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is expected to revolutionize our understanding of Jovian worlds over the coming decade. However, as we push towards characterizing cooler, smaller, "terrestrial-like" planets, dedicated next-generation facilities will be required to tease out the small spectral signatures indicative of biological activity.

Astronomers have uncovered a new way of searching for life in the cosmos. Harsh ultraviolet radiation flares from red suns, once thought to destroy surface life on planets, might help uncover hidden biospheres. Their radiation could trigger a protective glow from life on exoplanets called biofluorescence, according to new Cornell University research.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and collaborators have demonstrated a compact frequency-comb apparatus that rapidly measures the entire infrared band of light to detect biological, chemical and physical properties of matter.

As we begin to discover rocky planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars with missions like TESS and CHEOPS, we will need quick advancements on instrumentation and observational techniques that will enable us to answer key science questions.

A planet's atmospheric constituents (e.g., O2, O3, H2O, CO2, CH4, N2O) can provide clues to its surface habitability, and may offer biosignature targets for remote life detection efforts.

Current investigations of exoplanet biosignatures have focused on static evidence of life, such as the presence of biogenic gases like O2 or CH4.

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