sep 112013
 
Detecting Biomarkers on Exoplanets

  On Earth, life leaves tell-tale signals in the atmosphere. Photosynthesis is ultimately responsible for the high oxygen levels and the thick ozone layer. Microbes emit methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, and seaweeds emit chloromethane gas. These chemicals, when present in sufficient quantities, are indicators of life and are known as atmospheric biomarkers. [continue reading]

apr 292013
 
Looking for Habited Planets Around White Dwarfs

    TAU finds white dwarf stars may hold the key to detecting life on other planets   Because it has no source of energy, a dead star — known as a white dwarf — will eventually cool down and fade away. But circumstantial evidence suggests that white dwarfs can still support habitable planets, says [continue reading]