Recently in the Biosignatures & Paleobiology Category


Molecular oxygen, O2, is vital to life on Earth and possibly on other planets. Although the biogenic processes leading to its accumulation in Earth's atmosphere are well understood, its abiotic origin is still not fully established.

We investigate a new class of habitable planets composed of water-rich interiors with massive oceans underlying H2-rich atmospheres, referred to here as Hycean worlds.

The study of origins of life on Earth and the search for life on other planets are closely linked. Prebiotic chemical scenarios can help prioritize planets as targets for the search for life as we know it and can provide informative priors to help us assess the likelihood that particular spectroscopic features are evidence of life.

A recent study led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), a NOAA partner located at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. Co., found that satellites from NOAA's Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) can detect a fascinating nocturnal phenomenon called "milky seas" from their perch about 500 miles up.

Ammonia (NH3) in a terrestrial planet atmosphere is generally a good biosignature gas, primarily because terrestrial planets have no significant known abiotic NH3 source.

Scientists at Cornell University and the American Museum of Natural History have identified 2,034 nearby star-systems - within the small cosmic distance of 326 light-years - that could find Earth merely by watching our pale blue dot cross our sun.

It's a treasure trove of data: the global geodatabase of vegetation plots "sPlotOpen" is now freely accessible. It contains data on vegetation from 114 countries and from all climate zones on Earth.

It could be a milestone on the path to detecting life on other planets: Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bern and of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS detect a key molecular property of all living organisms from a helicopter flying several kilometers above ground. The measurement technology could also open up opportunities for remote sensing of the Earth.

This work presents the first steps to modelling synthetic rovibrational spectra for all molecules of astrophysical interest using the new code Prometheus.

Context. Homochirality is a generic and unique property of life on Earth and is considered a universal and agnostic biosignature. Homochirality induces fractional circular polarization in the incident light that it reflects.