Biofluorescence to detect life in cosmos
have uncovered a new way of searching for life in the cosmos. Harsh ultraviolet
radiation flares from red suns, once thought to destroy surface life on
planets, might help uncover hidden biospheres. Their radiation could trigger a
protective glow from life on exoplanets called biofluorescence, according to
new Cornell University research.
Ultraviolet rays can get absorbed into longer, safer wavelengths through a process called ‘photoprotective biofluorescence’, and that mechanism leaves a specific sign for which astronomers can search.
biofluorescence could expose hidden biospheres on new worlds through their
temporary glow, when a flare from a star hits the planet. The astronomers used
emission characteristics of common coral fluorescent pigments from Earth to
create model spectra and colours for planets orbiting active M stars to mimic
the strength of the signal and whether it could be detected for life.This is a
completely novel way to search for life in the universe.