Until now, dozens of habitable planets marked their presence outside that of our solar system. As the name suggests, since these are the habitable planets, the zest to explore life on them continues even today with the same enthusiasm. Currently, it not possible to reach these planets however, studies are going on to trace the presence of the specific biological products in their atmosphere. These atmospheric fingerprints of life, are called the biosignatures. The instrument called the next-generation telescope might be used to detect the presence of biosignatures. The telescopes will utilize the gaseous composition of the planets which are present light years away from our Blue Planet.
However, the biosignatures rely on the single measurements of the gaseous atmosphere. It could mislead the studies.
The scientists from the Riverside’s Alternative Earths Astrobiology Centre in the University of California are busy in developing something to ease the entire study. It is a quantitative framework for the dynamic biosignatures. They are based on the Seasonal changes of the Earth’s atmosphere. The NASA Astrobiology Institute is accomplishing the study with the required funds.
A research paper entitled “Atmospheric Seasonality as an Exoplanet Biosignature” finds its way in the Astrophysical Journal Letter. It is indicative of the ongoing studies on the biosignatures. The lead author of the study is Stephanie Olson.
The research paper indicates the analysis of the opportunities and the pitfalls linked with characterizing the seasonal formation and destruction of specific gaseous molecules. It is inclusive of the oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane. They are later detected with the help of the spectroscope. The spectroscopy represents an imaging technique.
Additionally, the scientists featured the modeled fluctuations of the atmospheric oxygen. It was demonstrated to be present on the life-bearing planet which had lower oxygen content. It resembles the condition of the Earth billions of the years ago.
Lyons concludes, “We are particularly excited about the prospect of characterizing oxygen fluctuations at the low levels we would expect to find on an early version of Earth.” Lyons is Biogeochemistry professor in the UCR Department of the Earth Science.