GSFC/USRA: New Technique to Quickly Identify Planets with Oxygen

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GSFC/USRA: New Technique to Quickly Identify Planets with Oxygen

Post by bystander » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:55 pm

New Technique May Give NASA’s Webb Telescope
a Way to Quickly Identify Planets with Oxygen

NASA | GSFC | USRA | JWST | 2020 Jan 06
Researchers may have found a way that NASA's James Webb Space Telescope can quickly identify nearby planets that could be promising for our search for life, as well as worlds that are uninhabitable because their oceans have vaporized.

Since planets around other stars (exoplanets) are so far away, scientists cannot look for signs of life by visiting these distant worlds. Instead, they must use a cutting-edge telescope like Webb to see what's inside the atmospheres of exoplanets. One possible indication of life, or biosignature, is the presence of oxygen in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Oxygen is generated by life on Earth when organisms such as plants, algae and cyanobacteria use photosynthesis to convert sunlight into chemical energy.

But what should Webb look for to determine if a planet has a lot of oxygen? In a new study, researchers identified a strong signal that oxygen molecules produce when they collide. Scientists say Webb has the potential to detect this signal in the atmospheres of exoplanets. ...

New Method to Detect Oxygen on Exoplanets
University of California, Riverside | 2020 Jan 06

Sensitive Probing of Exoplanetary Oxygen via Mid-Infrared Collisional Absorption ~ Thomas J. Fauchez et al
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