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Biosignatures and the Search for Life on Earth

  • M. Vázquez
  • E. Pallé
  • P. Montañés Rodríguez
Chapter
Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)

Abstract

Earth is the only life-hosting planet in the Universe that we currently know of; however, it is just a matter of time until other Earth-like planets are detected. At that time, by analysing their spectral signatures, we will likely be able to approach the question of how common life is in the universe. There are certain features of living systems that, because of the effects they have on the environment, allow us to distinguish them from other aspects of planetary geology, that is their presence or absence requires life. These features are referred to as biosignatures. A biosignature may be the simple direct-detection of living organisms, or indirectly, the detection of the chemical compounds or physical structures that their metabolism leaves in the environment. In this chapter, we review the available observations of life on Earth seen as an exoplanet and where we should look in order to find life in the Universe.

Keywords

Normalize Difference Vegetation Index Circular Polarization Spectral Type Main Sequence Nuclear Explosion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Vázquez
    • 1
  • E. Pallé
    • 1
  • P. Montañés Rodríguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Astrofísica de CanariasTenerifeSpain

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