Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

International Study Could Aid Search For Life In The Universe
By Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
Orlando FL (SPX) Jun 15, 2009

The snapshot the team took gives NASA and other space agencies a list of ingredients to look for when evaluating newly discovered planets. If a new planet has similar ingredients in the right proportion, then it would be a good target for further exploration.

A lunar eclipse helped a group of international scientists take a snapshot of earth's chemical fingerprint, which could help to identify planets most similar to earth where life may be thriving.

University of Central Florida Associate Professor Eduardo Martin was a member of the team that made the observation, which is published in the June 11 edition of Nature magazine.

The team used some of the world's largest optical and infrared telescopes located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain) to observe light reflected from the moon toward the earth during a lunar eclipse on Aug. 16, 2008.

The eclipse provided team members with a unique opportunity to mimic what they could observe if they were watching the earth pass in front of the sun from an extraterrestrial observatory. When a planet passes in front of a star (sun), part of the starlight passes through the planet's atmosphere.

That light contains the chemical composition of the planet and is called the transmission spectra of a planet.

The chemical composition describes what makes up the earth and what makes it habitable to humans. Scientists expect planets similar to earth to bear a similar chemical composition.

The snapshot the team took gives NASA and other space agencies a list of ingredients to look for when evaluating newly discovered planets. If a new planet has similar ingredients in the right proportion, then it would be a good target for further exploration.

"Now we have a much better idea about what to do to find planets similar to our own where life may be thriving," Martin said. "The greatest reward will happen when one of those planets shows a spectrum like that of our earth."

The team was led by Enric Palle of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. Other members, also from the same institution, include Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio, Pilar Montanes-Rodriguez and Rafael Barrena.

Martin has a Ph.D. from the University of Laguna in Spain, and he earned a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Anton Pannekoek Institute at the University of Amsterdam in Holland. He also worked at the University of California at Berkeley, was a visiting scholar at Caltech and served as a professor at the University of Hawaii for several years. He is now a full research professor at the Centro de Astrobiologia in Madrid. He splits his time between Spain and Florida.


Related Links
University of Central Florida
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Mine Safety System Goes Global
Canberra, Australia (SPX) May 26, 2009
A real-time risk management system to improve safety and boost productivity in underground mines will be available globally after a Queensland company was awarded a license to commercialise the CSIRO technology. Mackay-based company Mining Logic Solutions has signed an exclusive global licence agreement with CSIRO Exploration and Mining to commercially develop the Nexsys real-time risk man ... read more

Mapping The Surface Temperatures Of The Moon

Japan lunar probe ends mission, is crashed onto moon

NASA Announces Winners In Lunar Art Contest

New Tool To Visualize Past, Future Lunar Eclipses

Spirit Examines Its Underbelly

Opportunity Progresses South

Mars Orbiter Resumes Science Operations

Return Of The Mars Hoax

Tight squeeze ahead on space station

NASA's Ares I-X Rocket Achieves Historic Hardware Milestones

Exploring The Future Of Commercial Space Transportation

A New Way To Measure Cosmic Distances

China to launch Mars space probe

China To Launch First Mars Probe In Second Half Of 2009

China Launches Yaogan VI Remote-Sensing Satellite

China Able To Send Man To Moon Around 2020

Canadian Space Tourist Starts Training For ISS Mission

Work Completed On ISS Docking Bay

ISS Astronauts Complete Spacewalk, Test New Russian Spacesuits

Space station crew doubles to six for first time

Vietnam To Launch Second Man-Made Satellite In 2012

ILS Announces Two Additional Firm Proton Launches

Stat X Fire Suppression System Selected For Giant Crawlers

Arianespace Receives Ariane 5 For Its TerreStar-1 Mission

Planet-Forming Disk Orbiting Twin Suns Revealed

Planet-Hunting Method Succeeds At Last

New Method For Finding Alien Oceans

Let The Planet Hunt Begin

Rivals bid to trump iPhone at Asia's biggest telecom fair

CapRock Government Solutions Receives Satellite Industry Leadership Award

Outside View: Navy needs its Hawkeye

Smallest microwave is just a prototype

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement