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Red Dwarfs: Their Impact on Biosignatures

16 Mar 2018, 14:51 UTC
Red Dwarfs:  Their Impact on Biosignatures NASA

As the search for life on exoplanets ramps up, the question arises as to which types of stars represent the best targets. Based on distribution, M-Dwarfs are very attractive as they represent 3/4 of all stars in our galaxy. Their long lifetimes offer abundant opportunities for life to evolve, and to resist extinction as their stars increase in luminosity. On Earth, terrestrial life might last another one billion years before the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is forced to be reduced below photosynthetic requirements for plants to survive. All but lithophilic life might be extinct within 1 ½ billion years. An additional advantage for astronomers is that spectra of exoplanet atmospheres will be easier to distinguish around low luminosity stars.

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