Plants on Other Planets May Not be Green

Differently colored plants may live on extra-solar planets, according to two new papers in the current issue of Astrobiology authored by members of NAI's Virtual Planetary Laboratory Alumni Team and their colleagues. They took previously simulated planetary atmospheric compositions for Earth-like planets orbiting various star types (including M stars), generated spectra, and found that photosynthetic pigments may peak in absorbance in the blue for some star types, and red-orange and near-infrared for others. Their results also suggest that, under water, organisms would still be able to survive ultraviolet flares from young M stars and acquire adequate light for growth - which greatly increases the scope for habitability in these systems. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

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