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Sci Adv. 2015 Mar 6;1(2):e1500047. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1500047. eCollection 2015 Mar.

The search for signs of life on exoplanets at the interface of chemistry and planetary science.

Author information

1
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ; Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
2
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ; Rufus Scientific, Herts SG8 6ED, UK.

Abstract

The discovery of thousands of exoplanets in the last two decades that are so different from planets in our own solar system challenges many areas of traditional planetary science. However, ideas for how to detect signs of life in this mélange of planetary possibilities have lagged, and only in the last few years has modeling how signs of life might appear on genuinely alien worlds begun in earnest. Recent results have shown that the exciting frontier for biosignature gas ideas is not in the study of biology itself, which is inevitably rooted in Earth's geochemical and evolutionary specifics, but in the interface of chemistry and planetary physics.

KEYWORDS:

Exoplanets; Planetary atmospheres

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