The new study confirms that if you find traces of isoprene – a gas normally emitted by Earth’s forests – on another planet, that planet could have life in the absence of oxygen.
According to Science Alert, so far 4,375 exoplanets have been identified, belonging to 3,247 other “solar systems”, and 5,856 other “planetary candidates” are waiting to be determined. Although with modern technology, the search for life by direct observation is still a distant thing, but a number of new generation telescopes are in development which can easily search for “biological signatures” by analyzing the spectrum of planets.
Several biomarkers were included in the list: oxygen, water, methane (CH4), volcanic by-products such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), l gaseous hydrogen (H2)….
Professor Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT – US), the lead author, told Universe Today that they used a holistic approach to find out all the gases that may be a potential biological function. . Isoprene (C5H8) is becoming a potential new candidate because it can be produced by various biological processes.
On Earth, it is the gas that rises in abundance from forests, in particular oak, poplar and eucalyptus forests … It is estimated that the entire plant cover of the Earth emits up to 600 million tonnes of isoprene per year. In addition, it is also produced by many animals and bacteria with different habitats and levels of evolution. Therefore, it can characterize many standards of living.
“Isophrenic could be a kind of important building block that life on other planets could also make,” the authors conclude.
They also believe that isoprene will be found in planets with anoxic atmosphere, mainly hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen but lacking in oxygen. This seemingly deadly atmosphere was the original one on Earth when life first began to take shape; therefore, a world with the same atmosphere of rights could be a first copy of our planet.