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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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Humans would be ‘pretty upbeat’ to news of alien life: Study

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas

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The positive effect was stronger in response to reading about extraterrestrial life than human-made synthetic life.
The positive effect was stronger in response to reading about extraterrestrial life than human-made synthetic life. Wikimedia Commons
  • Existence of alien life is always been a subject of curiosity
  • Language in the coverage of these events showed significantly more positive than negative emotions
  • Participants’ responses showed significantly more positive than negative emotions, both when contemplating their own reactions and those of humanity as a whole

Have you wondered how would people react if scientists ever detect alien life in the universe? Humans would be “pretty upbeat” and welcome the news, finds a study.

Various studies have in the past speculated about how humans might respond to this kind of news, but until now, there has been almost no systematic empirical research.

In a pilot study, scientists at the Arizona State University analysed various media reports of “alien announcements”, including the appearance of the “alien” interstellar asteroid Oumuamua, that suggest the potential for alien life in our solar system.

Also Read: Are we alone in the Universe or there is Alien life? Astronomers spot nearby Star with seven Earth-size Planets

Language in the coverage of these events showed significantly more positive than negative emotions.

“If we came face to face with life outside of Earth, we would actually be pretty upbeat about it,” said assistant professor Michael Varnum.

Various studies have in the past speculated about how humans might respond to this kind of news.
Various studies have in the past speculated about how humans might respond to this kind of news. Wikimedia Commons

The results are in stark difference to the warnings from scientist Stephen Hawking who thinks aliens will not like being contacted by humans and that if we ever try to contact them they could kill humans.

In another two separate studies, nearly 1,000 people were asked to write about their own hypothetical reactions to an announcement that alien microbial life had been discovered, as well as to write about their reactions on past news coverage of scientific discoveries.

Participants’ responses showed significantly more positive than negative emotions, both when contemplating their own reactions and those of humanity as a whole.

Also Read: Search for alien life got exciting new leads this year

The positive effect was stronger in response to reading about extraterrestrial life than human-made synthetic life.

The studies suggest that “if we find out we’re not alone, we’ll take the news rather well,” Varnum said.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas. (IANS)

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