Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

'By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it'

 

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Astronomers identify trick to root out false-positives in the search for life

RATE THIS! +24
Posted in Science on 6th Mar, 2016 12:49 PM by AlexMuller

One of the methods currently in use by astronomers engaged in the hunt for extraterrestrial life is to analyze the atmospheres of distant exoplanets searching for O2, a gas which on Earth is created largely via photosynthesis in plants and algae, and is synonymous with the existence of life.

 
So, how do astronomers determine whether an exoplanet has O2 in its atmosphere? Scientists are able to observe exoplanets as they pass in front of their parent stars, taking the opportunity to analyze the spectral features of the light as it glances through the planet's atmosphere. From this, astronomers are able to break down the composition of the atmosphere, and infer certain characteristics about their quarry, including the interpretation of significant levels of O2 as a potential indicator for life.
 
However, a new study has outlined two cases in which the detection of O2 in the atmosphere of a distant planet would provide a false positive indicator in the search for life. In both scenarios, the O2 present in an exoplanet's atmosphere would exist as a result of abiotical production.
 
One such scenario would see ultraviolet light from a common star smaller than our Sun strike an exoplanet's atmosphere, breaking down carbon dioxide (CO2) to free O2 particles. The team ran computer models to simulate the interaction and discovered that alongside producing O2, that the CO2 split would also produce large quantities of carbon monoxide (CO)
 
Therefore, if oxygen is detected alongside a strong presence of CO2 and CO, it could represent a false positive. A low-mass star is once again the catalyst for another potential false positive indicator in the search for life wherein light from the star could work to break down atmospheric water.
 
This creates vast quantities of O2 which may collide with each other to create short lived O4 molecules. The detection of O2 alongside O4 could serve as another indicator for a false positive, allowing astronomers to save valuable time by viewing more promising targets.
 
Research such as this will provide a valuable framework in the search for life, as it is aided by the next generation of scientific instruments, including NASA's greatly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope.

Tags: planetexoplanettelescopelifeuniverseresearchspace

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Hardware on 2017-03-29 09:24:33
    ExoMars: Mars Rover scientists to study Mawrth Vallis.....read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-03-29 09:20:25
    AI to dominate banking, says report..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-03-29 09:15:30
    Trump signs order undoing Obama climate change policies..read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2017-03-29 09:08:41
    SpaceX launch of private citizens on a lunar orbiting.....read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-03-28 14:55:07
    Bots shift towards AI and garner $24 billion of investment..read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Intensive medical treatment can reverse type 2 diabetes..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from cognitive.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New analysis method of metabolites accurately predicts whether.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Unproven stem cell 'therapy' blinds three patients at Florida.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Indigenous South American group has healthiest arteries of all.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me