Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Astronomers Create Array of Earth-Like Planet Models


To sort out the biological intricacies of Earth-like planets, astronomers have developed computer models that examine how ultraviolet radiation from other planets’ nearby suns may affect those worlds, according to new research published June 10 in Astrophysical Journal.

“Depending on the intensity, ultraviolet radiation can be both useful and harmful to the origin of life,” says Lisa Kaltenegger, Cornell associate professor of astronomy and the director of Cornell’s new Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dot and Beyond. “We are trying to ascertain how much radiation other young Earths would get and what that could mean for the possibility for life.”

W. Henning

Artist’s impression of a Young Earth 

The study, “UV Surface Environment of Earth-like Planets Orbiting FGKM Stars Through Geological Evolution,” was prepared by lead author Sarah Rugheimer, Cornell research associate at the Carl Sagan Institute; Antigona Segura of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; Dimitar Sasselov of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and Kaltenegger.

“We’re going to see all kinds of planets in all kinds of stages in their own evolution, but we wanted to take four kinds of epochs from Earth history, as samples of what we might see,” said Rugheimer. “With the next generation of missions, we expect to observe a wide diversity of extrasolar planets.”

Borrowing from deep into Earth’s history, Rugheimer and co-authors modeled the first epoch, a pre-biotic world with a carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere, similar to early Earth 3.9 billion years ago. The second epoch – about 2 billion years ago – spawned the first whiff of oxygen, an active biosphere and the process of biosynthesis. Oxygen started to rise from the first cyanobacteria to the 1 percent concentration of current levels.

“It’s not just the amount of ultraviolet radiation, but also the specific types of ultraviolet radiation which will impact biology,” Rugheimer said. “We consider which wavelengths are most damaging to DNA and other biomolecules in addition to just looking at the total amount of radiation.”

Multicellular life started about 800 million years ago, and the group modeled a third epoch, where oxygen rose to about 10 percent of today’s levels. The fourth epoch corresponds to modern Earth, where the atmosphere features a carbon dioxide ratio of about 355 parts per million with current oxygen levels.

The researchers noted that for all epochs after the rise of oxygen the hottest and coolest stars have less biologically effective radiation. For the hottest stars, this is due to increased ozone shielding from higher UV environments, and for the coolest stars this is due to less absolute UV flux.

Rugheimer, who conducted the research while she was a doctoral student at Harvard University, explained that astrobiology draws researchers across disciplines and noted: “This work provides a link from the astrophysical conditions we expect to find on other planets to the origin-of-life experiments happening on here on Earth.”
The Simons Foundation provided funding for this research.

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.

Contact Information
Melissa Osgood
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 607-255-2059
Mobile: 716-860-0587

Melissa Osgood | newswise

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>