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Could ultraviolet light mean life throughout the universe?


From Matt Williams at Universe Today:

Recent studies have indicated that UV radiation may be necessary for the formation of ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is necessary for all forms of life as we know it. And given the rate at which rocky planets have been discovered around red dwarf stars of late (exampled include Proxima b, LHS 1140b, and the seven planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system), how much UV radiation red dwarfs give off could be central to determining exoplanet habitability.

As always, scientists are forced to work with a limited frame of reference when it comes to assessing the habitability of other planets. To our knowledge, life exists on only on planet (i.e. Earth), which naturally influences our understanding of where and under what conditions life can thrive. And despite ongoing research, the question of how life emerged on Earth is still something of a mystery.

If life should be found on a planet orbiting a red dwarf, or in extreme environments we thought were uninhabitable, it would suggest that life can emerge and evolve in conditions that are very different from those of Earth. In the coming years, next-generation missions like the James Webb Space Telescope are the Giant Magellan Telescope are expected to reveal more about distant stars and their systems of planets. More.

If you want to convert hundreds of millions of people to a belief in life outside of Earth, it would be best to begin with a single example. Astrobiology is still a discipline without a subject.

See also: Astronomer changes mind after 40 years: They not out there because They have gone extinct

Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!

How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?


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