Although it seems unbelievable, laughing gas – real nitrogen oxide – is a possible chemical sign that “marks” copies of Earth for the presence of extraterrestrial creatures.
Theo Sci-News, a new study shows Medical nitrous oxide – a product of microbial nitrogen metabolism – is an exoplanetary biosignature gravity that terrestrial telescopes can search for using spectroscopic data.
In recent years, astronomers have worked to identify possible signs that could represent extraterrestrial life on worlds beyond the solar system. We can’t directly observe planets tens or hundreds of light years away, but looking for chemical signs of life-related elements in the atmosphere can.
Image depicting a replica of Earth that could support living organisms
Photo representing a replica of the Earth that could contain living organisms – (Photo: SCI-NEWS)
For a world to have life, certain requirements are that it must possess a global atmosphere with strong gas exchange between life and the atmosphere, thus creating unique biological compounds.
“People think a lot about oxygen and methane as biomarkers.” -said Dr. Eddie Schwieterman, astrobiologist at the University of California, Riverside, Blue Marble Space Science Institute and participant in several NASA missions.
But the more search options you have, the more likely you are to get results. Dr. Schwieterman and his colleagues determined how much nitrogen oxides could be produced by organisms living on an Earth-like planet, using simulations.
They identify them star systems like TRAPPIST-1, famous for its seven Earth-like planets, is likely to be considered nitrous oxide based. This model works for almost any other type of star system, provided they contain Earth-like planets.
Accurate determination of nitrogen oxides can be carried out by modern observatories such as the James Webb Space Telescope of NASA/ESA/CSA (US, European and Canadian space agencies).
Dr. Schwieterman added: “This conclusion is based on the concentrations of nitrogen oxide in the Earth’s atmosphere today.” He believes that planets orbiting K and M dwarf stars should be considered first because they will produce the right kind of spectrum, without disrupting the signature of this potential compound.
The research has just been published in a scientific journal Journal of Astrophysics.
Article source: NLD
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Although it is hard to believe, laughing gas – medical nitrous oxide – is a possible chemical sign that “marks” copies of Earth for the presence of creatures…