Have we been looking for the wrong thing in our search for alien life?

Researchers claim that on our planet there is one… The most important elements supporting life are carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and phosphorus. That's why specialists focus on these elements when searching for life on alien planets. Particularly important in these studies was the presence of carbon in the atmosphere of other worlds.

However, scientists now suggest that planets with very little (but not a lot) of carbon may be where we look – a sign that a particular planet The strange world has good prospects for the development of life.

The second key element in the search for life on other planets is water, which consists of hydrogen and oxygen. However, according to Prof. Julian de Wit of MIT suggests that liquid water and atmospheric carbon don't mix.

– All the features that have been talked about so far [jako o wskaźnikach życia], it was beyond the reach of the most modern observatories. Now we have a way to find out if Another planet has liquid water. “This is something we can achieve in the next few years,” the professor said. De vit.

The researchers also point out that in a given star system, nascent planets might contain a similar amount of carbon. As Professor Amory Triwood of the University of Birmingham says: – If we now see a planet with less carbon, this element must have gone somewhere. The only process that can remove this amount of carbon from the atmosphere is… Vigorous water circulation involving oceans of liquid water.

The very idea that we should be looking for a lack of carbon, not a lot of it, flies in the face of the methods used so far. Previously he thought so Abundance of carbon in the atmosphere On an alien world indicates that there are large amounts of it on the surface, which in turn is what life as we know it needs to thrive.

Atmosphere Venus Moreover, it contains huge amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere Morsi This relationship can also be documented. However, no signs of life have been discovered on either planet yet.

Moreover, experts say, on Earth, before the appearance of humans, the concentration of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere was relatively low – and they point out that the part of carbon that was then “missing” in the Earth’s atmosphere was present. In the bodies of living organisms.

In addition, a significant portion of this element is found on our planet It dissolves in the oceans And fixed to the seabed. Scientists point out that all this accumulated carbon is roughly equivalent to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere of Venus.

Meanwhile, researchers suggest so Too much carbon dioxide will be anti-biosignature.

Scientists say that if the isolated planet has little carbon in its atmosphere, this can be attributed to the distinctive composition of the original cloud of material from which the system formed. However, if a single atmosphere poor in this element could be compared with the atmospheres of other planets in a given system, e.g. Rich in carbonthe situation becomes very interesting.

Specialists also emphasize that the presence or absence of carbon in the atmosphere cannot be the only factor An indicator of the presence of life on an alien planet. Therefore, other biosignatures should be detected simultaneously. It may be one of the most important Ozone – It refers to the continuous replenishment of the atmosphere with molecular oxygen, which in turn is associated with large-scale photosynthesis.

The research results were published in a prestigious scientific journal Nature astronomy.

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