Biosignatures & Paleobiology: January 2018

Chemical disequilibrium in planetary atmospheres has been proposed as a generalized method for detecting life on exoplanets through remote spectroscopy.

As NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and other new giant telescopes come online they will need novel strategies to look for evidence of life on other planets.

For the first time in human history, we will soon be able to apply the scientific method to the question "Are We Alone?" The rapid advance of exoplanet discovery, planetary systems science, and telescope technology will soon allow scientists to search for life beyond our Solar System through direct observation of extrasolar planets.

Here we advocate an observational strategy to help prioritize exoplanet observations.

A postgraduate student of the Faculty of Geology of MSU, working with an international scientific group, participated in chemical analysis of biomarkers -- compounds that remained after the decomposition of organic remains of the genus Beltanelliformis.

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.