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Stable, hydrogen-burning, M dwarf stars make up about 75% of all stars in the Galaxy. They are extremely long-lived, and because they are much smaller in mass than the Sun (between 0.5 and 0.08 M Sun ), their temperature and stellar luminosity are low and peaked in the red. We have re-examined...
Why do plants reflect in the green and have a “red edge” in the red, and should extrasolar photosynthesis be the same? We provide (1) a brief review of how photosynthesis works, (2) an overview of the diversity of photosynthetic organisms, their light harvesting systems, and environmental...
The changing view of planets orbiting low mass stars, M stars, as potentially hospitable worlds for life and its remote detection was motivated by several factors, including the demonstration of viable atmospheres and oceans on tidally locked planets, normal incidence of dust disks, including...
The water content and habitability of terrestrial planets are determined during their final assembly, from perhaps 100 1,000-km “planetary embryos” and a swarm of billions of 1–10-km “planetesimals.” During this process, we assume that water-rich material is accreted by terrestrial...
Low mass M- and K-type stars are much more numerous in the solar neighborhood than solar-like G-type stars. Therefore, some of them may appear as interesting candidates for the target star lists of terrestrial exoplanet ( i.e. , planets with mass, radius, and internal parameters identical to...
As photosynthesis on Earth produces the primary signatures of life that can be detected astronomically at the global scale, a strong focus of the search for extrasolar life will be photosynthesis, particularly photosynthesis that has evolved with a different parent star. We take previously...
Planets orbiting in the habitable zone of M dwarf stars are subject to high levels of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), which produce nitrogen oxides (NO x ) in Earth-like atmospheres. We investigate to what extent these NO M x species may modify biomarker compounds such as ozone (O 3 ) and nitrous...
We launched a cryptoendolithic habitat, made of a gneissic impactite inoculated with Chroococcidiopsis sp., into Earth orbit. After orbiting the Earth for 16 days, the rock entered the Earth's atmosphere and was recovered in Kazakhstan. The heat of entry ablated and heated the rock to a...
Micron-sized cavities created by the actions of rock-etching microorganisms known as euendoliths are explored as a biosignature for life on early Earth and perhaps Mars. Rock-dwelling organisms can tolerate extreme environmental stresses and are excellent candidates for the colonization of early...
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