Atmospheric Seasons Could Signal Life on ExoplanetsMay 24, 2018 / Written by: Miki Huynh
Satellites monitor how ‘greenness’ changes with Earth’s seasons. Image source: NASA (via UCR)
The current approach to the search for life on exoplanets involves scanning for biological signs, such as in the chemistry of the atmosphere and the presence of molecules like O2, CO2, and CH4. However, a detected presence, or absence, of a biosignature alone may only give us a partial or inaccurate picture.
Scientists with the NASA Astrobiology Institute Alternative Earths team based at the University of California, Riverside are devising a new strategy, and they are developing the first quantitative framework for investigating dynamic biosignatures based on seasonal changes in the Earth’s atmosphere. Just as the balance of atmospheric gases on Earth shift from season to season, patterns of change in atmospheric conditions over time could also naturally occur on exoplanets.
“Atmospheric Seasonality as an Exoplanet Biosignature” is published in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
A press release by Sarah Nightingale is available through UCR Today. The story has been picked up by news outlets including Eureka Alert and Fox News.
Source: [University of California, Riverside]
- Deep Sea Microbes Hold Clues to Early Life
- Non-Biological Formation of Tubules in Subsurface Volcanic Glass
- AbSciCon 2019
- Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact Wins 2019 PROSE Award
- Extremophiles that Love Water Heaters
- Abiotic Formation of the Sugar of DNA
- SAGANet: Ask an Expert
- Watch the Landing of NASA's Mars InSight
- Updates from the SETI Institute NAI Team 2018 Expedition to the Andes
- NASA’s Astrobiology Program Evolving to Meet the Future