Recently in the Biosignatures & Paleobiology Category


The current explosion in detection and characterization of thousands of extrasolar planets from the Kepler mission, the Hubble Space Telescope, and large ground-based telescopes opens a new era in searches for Earth-analog exoplanets with conditions suitable for sustaining life.

Future observations of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres will occur for planets at different stages of geological evolution. We expect to observe a wide variety of atmospheres and planets with alternative evolutionary paths, with some planets resembling Earth at different epochs.

Colour equals information, so the more spectral bands an Earth-observing satellite sees, the greater quantity of environmental findings returned to its homeworld. Now ESA is ready to fly a hand-sized hyperspectral imager - small enough to fit on its next nanosatellite.

Early Earth may have hosted a biologically-mediated global organic haze during the Archean eon (3.8-2.5 billion years ago).

Some exoplanets shine brighter than others in the search for life beyond the solar system.

This vegetation index, created using images taken by OSIRIS-REx's MapCam camera on Sept. 22, 2017, shows areas on Earth with abundant plant life.

A Review of Exoplanetary Biosignatures

We review the field of exoplanetary biosignatures with a main focus upon atmospheric gas-phase species. Due to the paucity of data in Earth-like planetary atmospheres a common approach is to extrapolate knowledge from the Solar System and Early Earth to Earth-like exoplanets.

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have detected the faint molecular fingerprint of methyl chloride - a chemical commonly produced by industrial and biological processes here on Earth - around an infant star system known as IRAS 16293-2422.

In everyday life, ultraviolet, or UV, light earns a bad reputation for being responsible for sunburns and other harmful effects on humans. However, research suggests that UV light may have played a critical role in the emergence of life on Earth and could be a key for where to look for life elsewhere in the Universe.

Exoplanets: Possible Biosignatures

The ancestor philosophers' dream of thousands of new worlds is finally realised: about 3500 extrasolar planets have been discovered in the neighborhood of our Sun. Most of them are very different from those we used to know in our Solar System.