This tag is associated with 32 posts

Could we detect signs of life on a massive super-Earth?

We have one canonical idea of what life looks like on Earth: nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide. But would this be true on another world? When looking for life in the atmospheres of exoplanets, we might want to consider searching for something completely different.

Gamma Ray Bursts vs. All Life on Earth

Asteroids and volcanoes are familiar harbingers of global doom. But what about Gamma Ray Bursts? Is another doomsday lurking?

Searching for Life via Exoplanet Smog

Today’s paper proposes a detection method for technologically advanced life that goes beyond the usual SETI signals: looking at exoplanet atmospheres not just for the presence of life in general, but for the chemical signatures of intelligent life.

Will we find signs of tectonics on Pluto? And what would that mean?

New Horizons will arrive at Pluto in mid-2015. Images of ancient tectonic features on its surface may provide evidence for the existence of an ancient, subsurface ocean.

Exomoons disguised as aliens

Exoplanets with moons could mimic alien life-signs.

How Green Can a Planet in a Resonant Orbit Be?

Planets orbiting close to type-M dwarf stars are in the habitable zone, but if their orbits are in a 3:2 spin resonance, do their long, strange days and nights have a chance of supporting photosynthetic life?

sunrise, somewhere

Prebiotic Skies

In search of a good origin story for the building blocks of life, the authors of this paper have set their sights higher. Literally higher, to exoplanets’ skies.

Seeding Life on Other Worlds

Can life spread from Earth to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn on rock ejected from meteoroid collisions? The authors of this paper start on answering this question by asking if ejected material from Earth can even reach the gas giants’ moons. The answer is yes, so it’s possible that microbial Earthlings have already traveled a lot farther than human ones.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It: Biosignatures from the Dying Earth

This paper asks what the biosphere of the Earth will look like billions of years from now, when the era of life is ending. What biosignatures might we detect from a dying planet?

The Influence of Ice and Snow on Habitability (or, On the Habitability of Hoth)

This article uses theoretical modeling to estimate the influence of ice and snow on the habitability of extrasolar planets. This work differentiates itself from past efforts by including the influence of the atmosphere, and by considering planets orbiting M-dwarfs in addition to Sun-like stars.

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