Bio - Bio-Markers While it may be possible for life to...

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Bio-Markers While it may be possible for life to exist on a planet or moon below its surface, we will not be able to detect its presence from a great distance away (e.g., if it is another star system beyond our solar system). In our fastest rocket propelled spacecraft, it would take us over 70,000 years to travel to the next star system (Alpha Centauri). The type of inhabited planet we will be able to detect outside of our solar system is life that has changed the chemistry of the planet's atmosphere, i.e., the life will have to be on the surface. By analyzing the spectrum of the planet's atmosphere, we may be able to detect bio-markers ---spectral signatures of certain compounds in certain proportions that could not be produced by non-biological processes. Spectral lines from water would say that a planet has a vital ingredient for life. If oxygen, particularly ozone (a molecule of three oxygen atoms), is found in the atmosphere, then it would be very likely that life is indeed on the planet. Recall from the
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Bio - Bio-Markers While it may be possible for life to...

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