University of California, Riverside | Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center | 2018 May 09
UCR researchers are using seasonal changes in the Earth’s atmosphere to guide their search for life outside the solar system
Dozens of potentially habitable planets have been discovered outside our solar system, and many more are awaiting detection.
Is anybody — or anything — there?
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. These atmospheric fingerprints of life, called biosignatures, will be detected using next-generation telescopes that measure the composition of gases surrounding planets that are light years away.
It’s a tricky business, since biosignatures based on single measurements of atmospheric gases could be misleading. To complement these markers, and thanks to funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute, scientists at the University of California, Riverside’s Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center are developing the first quantitative framework for dynamic biosignatures based on seasonal changes in the Earth’s atmosphere. ...
Atmospheric Seasonality as an Exoplanet Biosignature - Stephanie L. Olson et al
- Astrophysical Journal Letters 858(2):L14 (10 May 2018) DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aac171