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Photosynthetic potential of planets in 3 : 2 spin–orbit resonances

  • S.P. Brown (a1), A.J. Mead (a2), D.H. Forgan (a1) (a2), J.A. Raven (a3) and C.S. Cockell (a1)...

Abstract

Photosynthetic life requires sufficient photosynthetically active radiation to metabolize. On Earth, plant behaviour, physiology and metabolism are sculpted around the night–day cycle by an endogenous biological circadian clock. The evolution of life was influenced by the Earth–Sun orbital dynamic, which generates the photo-environment incident on the planetary surface. In this work, the unusual photo-environment of an Earth-like planet (ELP) in 3 : 2 spin–orbit resonance is explored. Photo-environments on the ELP are longitudinally differentiated, in addition to differentiations related to latitude and depth (for aquatic organisms) which are familiar on Earth. The light environment on such a planet could be compatible with Earth's photosynthetic life although the threat of atmospheric freeze-out and prolonged periods of darkness would present significant challenges. We emphasize the relationship between the evolution of life on a planetary body with its orbital dynamics.

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Corresponding author

e-mail: dhf@roe.ac.uk

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Photosynthetic potential of planets in 3 : 2 spin–orbit resonances

  • S.P. Brown (a1), A.J. Mead (a2), D.H. Forgan (a1) (a2), J.A. Raven (a3) and C.S. Cockell (a1)...

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