Biosignatures & Paleobiology: June 2020

The Earth viewed from outside the Solar system would be identified merely like a pale blue dot, as coined by Carl Sagan.

In the next decades, the astrobiological community will debate whether the first observations of oxygen in an exoplanet′s atmosphere signifies life, so it is critical to establish procedures now for collection and interpretation of such data.

Identification of habitable planets beyond our solar system is a key goal of current and future space missions. Yet habitability depends not only on the stellar irradiance, but equally on constituent parts of the planetary atmosphere.

Understanding the possible climatic conditions on rocky extrasolar planets, and thereby their potential habitability, is one of the major subjects of exoplanet research.

Scattering processes in the atmospheres of planets cause characteristic features that can be particularly well observed in polarisation. For planet Earth, both molecular and scattering by small particles imprint specific signatures in its phase curve.