An Astrophysical View of Earth-Based Metabolic Biosignature Gases
Author(s)Seager, Sara; Schrenk, Matthew; Bains, William
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Microbial life on Earth uses a wide range of chemical and energetic resources from diverse habitats. An outcome of this microbial diversity is an extensive and varied list of metabolic byproducts. We review key points of Earth-based microbial metabolism that are useful to the astrophysical search for biosignature gases on exoplanets, including a list of primary and secondary metabolism gas byproducts. Beyond the canonical, unique-to-life biosignature gases on Earth (O[subscript 2], O[subscript 3], and N[subscript 2]O), the list of metabolic byproducts includes gases that might be associated with biosignature gases in appropriate exoplanetary environments. This review aims to serve as a starting point for future astrophysical biosignature gas research. Key Words: Exoplanet—Biosignature—Microbial redox reactions. Astrobiology 12, 61–82.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
Mary Ann Liebert
Seager, Sara, Matthew Schrenk, and William Bains. “An Astrophysical View of Earth-Based Metabolic Biosignature Gases.” Astrobiology 12.1 (2012): 61–82. ©2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers.
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