Biosignatures & Paleobiology: January 2018

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.