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Alien life can exist without oxygen: Study

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nasa-cosmos-6 By NewsGram Staff Writer

Oxygen is one of the essential criterions for life to exist. Or so has been thought till date.

Now, a Japanese researcher has dispelled that notion by presenting a novel hypothesis arguing that it could be possible for far-off planets to hold huge quantities of abiotic or non-biologically produced oxygen.

Norito Narita, assistant professor at the Astrobiology Center of National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), has brought to light the possibility of production of abiotic oxygen through the photocatalytic reaction of titanium oxide, known to be abundant on distant planets and the moon.

According to Narita, “To search for life on extrasolar planets through astronomical observation, we need to combine the knowledge from various scientific fields and promote astrobiological researches to establish the decisive signs of life.”

Narita also argues the necessity of looking for new biomarkers besides oxygen from the present result, although oxygen still stands as one of possible biomarkers.

On Earth, plants continuously produce oxygen through photosynthesis.

Therefore, if a planet has an environment similar to the Sun-Earth system, a continuous photocatalytic reaction of titanium oxide on about 0.05 percent of the planet’s surface could enable it to produce the amount of oxygen found in the Earth’s current atmosphere.

The team also estimated the amount of possible oxygen production for habitable planets around other types of host stars with various masses and temperatures.

Another remarkable finding was the discovery that even in a least efficient production case of a low-temperature star, the photocatalytic reaction of titanium oxide on about 3 percent of the planetary surface could maintain this level of atmospheric oxygen through abiotic processes.

The author also noted that it was possible for a habitable extrasolar planet to maintain an atmosphere with Earth-like oxygen, even without organisms present to perform photosynthesis.

The paper, which appeared in the Scientific Reports journal, is a good example of an inter-disciplinary study which combines knowledge from different fields of science and promote astrobiology in the search for life on extra-solar planets.

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Low Blood Oxygen Ups Children Risk of Premature Death by Eight Times

For the study, Graham worked with colleagues in Nigeria to record the blood oxygen levels of more than 23,000 children admitted to 12 medium-sized hospitals

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Blood, Oxygen, Children
Low blood oxygen is particularly common in newborn infants, especially those who are premature or have very difficult births. Pixabay

Low blood oxygen is more common in sick children than previously thought, and increases their risk of premature death by eight times compared to those with normal blood oxygen, a new research has found.

The study, published in Lancet’s EclinicalMedicine journal, shows that low blood oxygen is common not only in pneumonia, but also in many other conditions.

“Low blood oxygen is particularly common in newborn infants, especially those who are premature or have very difficult births,” said Hamish Graham from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia.

For the study, Graham worked with colleagues in Nigeria to record the blood oxygen levels of more than 23,000 children admitted to 12 medium-sized hospitals.

Blood, Oxygen, Children
The study, published in Lancet’s EclinicalMedicine journal, shows that low blood oxygen is common not only in pneumonia, but also in many other conditions. Pixabay

“Your blood oxygen level is the amount of oxygen carried by red blood cells from the lungs to the rest of the body — low blood oxygen damages cells and can lead to death,” Graham said.

“Our study found that one in four newborns and one in 10 children in hospitals had low blood oxygen, and these children were eight times more likely to die than those with normal blood oxygen,” Graham added.

The researchers hope the findings would encourage policy makers and healthcare workers in low and middle income countries to increase the use of oxygen measuring tools and oxygen therapy.

Also Read- China Launches Gaofen-7, New Earth Observation Satellite

“Our modellings suggest that better use of oxygen monitoring and therapy in the 12 highest mortality countries in the world could prevent up to 148,000 child pneumonia deaths annually,” Graham said. (IANS)