Recently in the Biosignatures & Paleobiology Category

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and collaborators have demonstrated a compact frequency-comb apparatus that rapidly measures the entire infrared band of light to detect biological, chemical and physical properties of matter.

The discovery provides a new characteristic 'biosignature' to track the remains of ancient life preserved in rocks which are significantly altered over billions of years and could help identify life elsewhere in the Solar System.

In the near-future, atmospheric characterization of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone will become possible via reflectance spectroscopy with future telescopes such as the proposed LUVOIR and HabEx missions.

As we begin to discover rocky planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars with missions like TESS and CHEOPS, we will need quick advancements on instrumentation and observational techniques that will enable us to answer key science questions.

Carbon monoxide detectors in our homes warn of a dangerous buildup of that colorless, odorless gas we normally associate with death.

Some atmospheric gases have been proposed as counter indicators to the presence of life on an exoplanet if remotely detectable at sufficient abundance (i.e., antibiosignatures), informing the search for biosignatures and potentially fingerprinting uninhabited habitats.

Thousands of planets beyond our solar system have been discovered to date, dozens of which are rocky in composition and are orbiting within the circumstellar habitable zone of their host star.

Dutch scientists have developed an instrument capable of detecting the presence of living plants kilometres away.

With the number of confirmed rocky exoplanets increasing steadily, their characterisation and the search for exoplanetary biospheres is becoming an increasingly urgent issue in astrobiology.

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.