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]
- 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
- Combined IAN / NAI Newsletter
- A New Initiative: The European Astrobiology Institute
- Was Life on the Early Earth Purple?
- NASA Astrobiology Program Student Early Career Collaboration Award
- Geoelectrodes and Fuel Cells for Simulating Hydrothermal Vent Environments
- AbSciCon 2019 Call for Proposals
- Astrobiology Science Strategy: Public Briefing Webcast