Monday, January 25, 2021
Home Lead Story Major Goal is to Identify Planets that Could Support Life: NASA

Major Goal is to Identify Planets that Could Support Life: NASA

Hubble recorded ozone absorbing some of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation that passed through the edge of Earth's atmosphere during a lunar eclipse

As scientists search for signs of life on planets outside our solar system, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have detected Earth’s own brand of sunscreen, ozone, in our atmosphere by taking advantage of a total lunar eclipse.

This method simulates how astronomers and astrobiology researchers will search for evidence of life beyond Earth by observing potential “biosignatures” on exoplanets.

“One of NASA’s major goals is to identify planets that could support life,” Allison Youngblood of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder said in a NASA statement.

Follow NewsGram on Quora Space to get answers to all your questions.

“But how would we know a habitable or an uninhabited planet if we saw one? What would they look like with the techniques that astronomers have at their disposal for characterising the atmospheres of exoplanets?

Scientists use Earth as proxy for detecting signs of life on exoplanets
The astronomers used the Moon as a mirror to reflect sunlight, which had passed through Earth’s atmosphere, and then reflected back towards Hubble. Pixabay

“That’s why it’s important to develop models of Earth’s spectrum as a template for categorising atmospheres on extrasolar planets,” she explained.

For the study, Hubble did not look at Earth directly. Instead, the astronomers used the Moon as a mirror to reflect sunlight, which had passed through Earth’s atmosphere, and then reflected back towards Hubble.

Using a space telescope for eclipse observations reproduces the conditions under which future telescopes would measure atmospheres of transiting exoplanets.

These atmospheres may contain chemicals of interest to astrobiology, the study of and search for life.

Though numerous ground-based observations of this kind have been done previously, this is the first time a total lunar eclipse was captured at ultraviolet wavelengths and from a space telescope.

Hubble detected the strong spectral fingerprint of ozone, which absorbs some of the sunlight.

Scientists use Earth as proxy for detecting signs of life on exoplanets
Ozone is important to life because it is the source of the protective shield in the Earth’s atmosphere. Pinterest

Ozone is important to life because it is the source of the protective shield in the Earth’s atmosphere.

On Earth, photosynthesis over billions of years is responsible for our planet’s high oxygen levels and thick ozone layer.

Also Read: Need to Adapt to Changing Customer Behaviour: McDonald’s

That’s one reason why scientists think ozone or oxygen could be a sign of life on another planet, and refer to them as biosignatures.

“Finding ozone is significant because it is a photochemical byproduct of molecular oxygen, which is itself a byproduct of life,” Youngblood said.

Hubble recorded ozone absorbing some of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation that passed through the edge of Earth’s atmosphere during a lunar eclipse that occurred on January 20 to 21, 2019, according to the study published online in The Astronomical Journal. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Green Tax To Be Levied On Polluting Vehicles: Transport Ministry

The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Monday said his department has approved a proposal to levy "Green Tax" on...

38% Indian Women Techies Prefer WHF

Almost 38 per cent Indian women working in a tech or IT industry prefer working at home to working in the office, says a...

Telangana Boy Develops Smart Wristband Aiding Alzheimer’s

A 13-year-old boy from Telangana, who developed a smart wristband to monitor Alzheimer's patients, is one of the recipients of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal...

Diwali 2022 Opens Doors To An Extended Temple In Dubai

A new Hindu temple in Dubai, the foundation stone of which was laid last August amidst the pandemic, will open its doors to worshippers...

Changing Mood In Ayodhya Chronicled In New Book

Fear, apprehension and suspicion has finally been replaced with a sense of ease and excitement and Ayodhya, after the Supreme Court verdict - is...

Scientists Ask For Strict Measures To Restrict New Covid-19 Strain

With new Covid-19 strains reported from several parts of the world giving fresh threats to the fight against the pandemic, a group of scientists...

Pandemic: An Eye-Opener For Health Sector

The Covid-19 pandemic should serve as an eye-opener for the government to increase allocation for the health sector in the Union Budget 2020-21, feel...

Tri-colour, The Colour Code For Republic Day

Republic day is around the corner and so is the end of winter fashion. So why not end it in style? Here are some...

Recent Comments