A multinational team of scientists developed a new method for finding habitable planets with liquid water.
New Method for Detecting Habitable Planets by Comparing CO2 Levels
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in exoplanet atmospheres are compared to adjacent worlds. If a planet has lower atmospheric CO2 than its neighbors, it may have liquid water. This CO2 drop reflects ocean absorption or life form use.
A planet’s habitability is its ability to hold liquid water. Researchers from Birmingham University and MIT developed the “habitability signature,” a method. It provides an alternative to starlight reflections off water surfaces, which were difficult to see due to feeble signals. Since CO2 is a strong infrared absorber, the new method monitors CO2 in a planet’s atmosphere using existing facilities.
This habitability characteristic helps discover livable worlds and reveals environmental tipping points and the climate problem on Earth. It may also be a biosignature of carbon dioxide-consuming organisms.
Detecting Extraterrestrial Life: New Method Offers Hope with CO2 and Ozone Signatures
Researchers can assess a planet’s habitability and life by measuring carbon dioxide and ozone, which develops from oxygen. The detection of CO2 and ozone fingerprints by contemporary telescopes gives the quest for extraterrestrial life hope.
This approach can infer liquid water and perhaps find life on exoplanets, contrary to earlier ideas that big telescopes may not detect life. The research team wants to evaluate exoplanet atmospheric CO2 compositions to determine which ones contain oceans, which would affect observation priorities for habitable worlds outside our solar system.