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Swansong Biospheres: The biosignatures of inhabited earth-like planets nearing the end of their habitable lifetimes

  • Jack T. O'Malley-James (a1), Jane S. Greaves (a1), John A. Raven (a2) and Charles S. Cockell (a3)
Abstract
Abstract

The biosignatures of life on Earth are not fixed, but change with time as environmental conditions change and life living within those environments adapts to the new conditions. A latitude-based climate model, incorporating orbital parameter variations, was used to simulate conditions on the far-future Earth as the Sun enters the late main sequence. Over time, conditions increasingly favour a unicellular microbial biosphere, which can persist for a maximum of 2.8 Gyr from present. The biosignature changes associated with the likely biosphere changes are evaluated using a biosphere-atmosphere gas exchange model and their detectability is discussed. As future Earth-like exoplanet discoveries could be habitable planets nearing the end of their habitable lifetimes, this helps inform the search for the signatures of life beyond Earth

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References
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Caldeira C. & Kasting J. F.: The lifespan of the biosphere revisited, Nature, Vol. 360, pp. 721723, 1992.
Gough D. O.: Solar interior structure and luminosity variations, Solar Phys., Vol. 74, pp. 2134, 1981.
O'Malley-James J. T., Cockell C. S., Greaves J. S., & Raven J. A.: Swansong Biospheres II: The final signs of life on terrestrial planets near the end of their habitable lifetimes, 2013b, arXiv: 1310.4841
O'Malley-James J. T., Greaves J. A., Raven J. A., & Cockell C. S.: Swansong Biospheres: refuges for life and novel microbial biospheres on terrestrial planets near the end of their habitable lifetimes, Int. J. Astrobiology, Vol. 12, pp. 99112, 2013a.
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Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • ISSN: 1743-9213
  • EISSN: 1743-9221
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-international-astronomical-union
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