Recently in the Biosignatures & Paleobiology Category


Every school kid knows that Earth has a magnetic field -- it's what makes compasses align north-south and lets us navigate the oceans. It also protects the atmosphere, and thus life, from the Sun's powerful wind.

NASA has awarded funding for a new interdisciplinary project called the Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures (LAB). The award, totaling nearly $7 million dollars, will be used to develop new, non-Earth like life detection approaches for use on Mars and on Jupiter and Saturn's icy moons.

A planet's atmospheric constituents (e.g., O2, O3, H2O, CO2, CH4, N2O) can provide clues to its surface habitability, and may offer biosignature targets for remote life detection efforts.

Ecosystem-bedrock interactions power the biogeochemical cycles of Earth shallow crust, supporting life, stimulating substrate transformation, and spurring evolutionary innovation.

The high reflection of land vegetation in the near-infrared, the vegetation red edge (VRE), is often cited as a spectral biosignature for surface vegetation on exoplanets.

High dispersion spectroscopy of brown dwarfs and exoplanets enables exciting science cases, e.g., mapping surface inhomogeneity and measuring spin rate.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may be capable of finding biogenic gases in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets around low mass stars.

With the recent discoveries of terrestrial planets around active M-dwarfs, destruction processes masking the possible presence of life are receiving increased attention in the exoplanet community.

Sleuthing by a Rice University postdoctoral fellow is part of a new Nature paper that gives credence to theories about Earth's atmosphere 1.4 billion years ago.

The banded iron formation, located in western China, has been conclusively dated as Cambrian in age. Approximately 527 million years old, this formation is young by comparison to the majority of discoveries to date.