Antonio Manaytay – Fourth Estate Contributor
Boca Raton, FL, United States (4E) – The unusual atmospheric air flow could possibly hide any traces of life in the atmosphere of any exoplanets using telescopes, a new study said.
Using new simulations, according to a study published November 29 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the search for life in the other worlds, which at present involved the identification of chemical compounds possibly produced by living organism, is harder than previously thought.
One of the possible tracers on exoplanets is ozone. This compound, which forms the ozone layer of Earth that block the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, is believed to have held the key to determine if an oxygen-producing life, such as bacteria, is present in an alien world.
Researcher Ludmila Carone of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany said it is possible that these tracers are well hidden in the atmosphere and detecting them does come easy.
“Absence of traces of ozone in future observations does not have to mean there is no oxygen at all,” Carone said.
Carone and her colleagues had included in their study some of the exoplanets nearby such as Proxima b, the nearest star from the sun; and the TRAPPIST-1d, the most promising member of the TRAPPIST-1 family. These alien planets orbit their parent star in 25 or fewer days that resulted to have one side permanently facing their star.
The researchers, after modeling the airflow of these planets, said this extraordinary day-night divide could affect the ozone distribution across the atmosphere. For the planets under consideration, the major air flow from the poles to the equator trapping the ozone in the equator.
“In principle, an exoplanet with an ozone layer that covers only the equatorial region may still be habitable,” Carone said.
She pointed out that the reddish stars by which Proxima b and TRAPPIST-1d are orbiting have too little amount of harmful UV rays although they are also known to have violent outbursts of harmful radiation at times.
“We all knew… the hunt for alien life will be a challenge. As it turns out, we are only scratching the surface of how difficult it really will be,” Carone said.
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