Results tagged “biosignatures”

Carbon monoxide detectors in our homes warn of a dangerous buildup of that colorless, odorless gas we normally associate with death.

Thousands of planets beyond our solar system have been discovered to date, dozens of which are rocky in composition and are orbiting within the circumstellar habitable zone of their host star.

Dutch scientists have developed an instrument capable of detecting the presence of living plants kilometres away.

With the number of confirmed rocky exoplanets increasing steadily, their characterisation and the search for exoplanetary biospheres is becoming an increasingly urgent issue in astrobiology.

NASA has awarded funding for a new interdisciplinary project called the Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures (LAB). The award, totaling nearly $7 million dollars, will be used to develop new, non-Earth like life detection approaches for use on Mars and on Jupiter and Saturn's icy moons.

Ecosystem-bedrock interactions power the biogeochemical cycles of Earth shallow crust, supporting life, stimulating substrate transformation, and spurring evolutionary innovation.

The high reflection of land vegetation in the near-infrared, the vegetation red edge (VRE), is often cited as a spectral biosignature for surface vegetation on exoplanets.

High dispersion spectroscopy of brown dwarfs and exoplanets enables exciting science cases, e.g., mapping surface inhomogeneity and measuring spin rate.

A milestone in understanding life in the universe is the detection of biosignature gases in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets.

The hunt for life in these places, which are impossible to visit in person, will begin with a search for biological products in their atmospheres.

Surface and Temporal Biosignatures

Recent discoveries of potentially habitable exoplanets have ignited the prospect of spectroscopic investigations of exoplanet surfaces and atmospheres for signs of life.

Chemical disequilibrium in planetary atmospheres has been proposed as a generalized method for detecting life on exoplanets through remote spectroscopy.

As NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and other new giant telescopes come online they will need novel strategies to look for evidence of life on other planets.

For the first time in human history, we will soon be able to apply the scientific method to the question "Are We Alone?" The rapid advance of exoplanet discovery, planetary systems science, and telescope technology will soon allow scientists to search for life beyond our Solar System through direct observation of extrasolar planets.

The current explosion in detection and characterization of thousands of extrasolar planets from the Kepler mission, the Hubble Space Telescope, and large ground-based telescopes opens a new era in searches for Earth-analog exoplanets with conditions suitable for sustaining life.

Some exoplanets shine brighter than others in the search for life beyond the solar system.

A Review of Exoplanetary Biosignatures

We review the field of exoplanetary biosignatures with a main focus upon atmospheric gas-phase species. Due to the paucity of data in Earth-like planetary atmospheres a common approach is to extrapolate knowledge from the Solar System and Early Earth to Earth-like exoplanets.

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have detected the faint molecular fingerprint of methyl chloride - a chemical commonly produced by industrial and biological processes here on Earth - around an infant star system known as IRAS 16293-2422.

Transmission spectra of exoplanetary atmospheres have been used to infer the presence of clouds/hazes. Such inferences are typically based on spectral slopes in the optical deviant from gaseous Rayleigh scattering or low-amplitude spectral features in the infrared.

Finding life on exoplanets from telescopic observations is the ultimate goal of exoplanet science. Life produces gases and other substances, such as pigments, which can have distinct spectral or photometric signatures. Whether or not life is found in future data must be expressed with probabilities, requiring a framework for biosignature assessment.

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