24/7 Space News
New insights into Earth's carbon cycle offer clues for habitability of other planets
illustration only
New insights into Earth's carbon cycle offer clues for habitability of other planets
by Sophie Jenkins
Bristol, UK (SPX) Apr 12, 2024

Recent research provides critical new perspectives on the historical evolution of oxygen, carbon, and other essential elements on Earth, potentially aiding in the evaluation of habitability on other planets. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, was spearheaded by University of Bristol scientists who demonstrated the significant role of carbon-rich rocks in boosting oxygen production and release into the atmosphere. This discovery addresses longstanding uncertainties about how Earth's atmosphere became rich in oxygen.

The ongoing emission of carbon dioxide by volcanic activity has long seen carbon transported to oceans, where it forms rocks like limestone. Over time, the accumulation of such rocks facilitates carbon release during tectonic activities, such as mountain formation and metamorphism.

Leveraging this knowledge, the researchers developed an advanced computer model to map critical shifts in the Earth's carbon, nutrient, and oxygen cycles spanning over 4 billion years. According to Dr. Lewis Alcott, lead author and Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, this study marks a significant advancement in understanding how planets might support complex life forms.

Dr. Alcott highlighted the long-standing mystery surrounding the increase of atmospheric oxygen from trace amounts to modern levels. This complex process has been difficult to model accurately until now, leading to various conflicting theories among scientists.

The study also suggests that older planets, like Earth, which formed billions of years ago, are likely to accumulate sufficient carbon-rich deposits in their crust. This accumulation can enhance the recycling of carbon and nutrients, vital for photosynthesis, thus accelerating oxygen production as Earth's history progresses.

Initiated while Dr. Alcott was a Hutchinson Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, this research sets the stage for future investigations into the intricate connections between planetary temperature, oxygen, and nutrients.

Prof. Benjamin Mills, co-author and Professor of Earth System Evolution at the University of Leeds, added that our expanding knowledge of distant stars and their planets might soon predict the chemical potential of these planets. Advances in telescope technology are expected to verify these predictions.

Research Report:Crustal carbonate build-up as a driver for Earth's oxygenation

Related Links
University of Bristol
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Uncovering the thermal pathways to life's origins
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Apr 05, 2024
The enigma of life's origins is as complex as life itself, with myriad intricate processes unfolding within cells. From protein synthesis to DNA replication, the coordination and concentration of reaction partners are crucial for cellular operations. Evolution has refined these processes over billions of years, optimizing the efficiency and accuracy of vital biochemical activities. This complexity contrasts sharply with the chaotic conditions of Earth four billion years ago when prebiotic reaction ... read more

NASA seeks community input to refine space technology priorities

Max Space unveils new expandable space habitats

Vertical Future to develop crop-growing systems with UK Space Agency funding

Emerging Markets in the Space Economy: Opportunities Beyond the West

Private Sector Innovation and Its Impact on the Space Industry

Reusable rocket engine completes major test in China

Aerojet Rocketdyne advances space maneuver with new propulsion tech

Boeing Starliner rolls to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station ahead of May launch

NASA Aims for Cost-Effective Mars Sample Return by 2030s

NASA gears up for another Mars simulation mission

NASA Mars helicopter sends last message to Earth

Exomars 2028 and the Search for Life on Mars

China finds use for space tech in extending food shelf life

Astronaut fitness regimes critical in Tiangong Space Station

Space Devices Ensure Health of Taikonauts Aboard Tiangong Space Station

Shenzhou 17 astronauts complete China's first in-space repair job

Navigating the New Frontier: The Space Economy and Its Global Implications

Aegis Aerospace completes key acquisition of ProXopS assets

The economics of falling satellite costs and the global impact

Satellogic secures $30 million from Tether Investments for strategic expansion

Firefly Aerospace collaborates with Klepsydra Technologies for space-based edge computing

Cheap Chinese steel threatens jobs in Latin America

3D-Printing Breakthrough at University of Florida Enhances Affordability and Sustainability

Biden pushes to triple tariffs on Chinese steel, aluminum

Exoplanets evaluated in new light

NASA's planet-hunter TESS temporarily shuts off

First 'glory' on hellish distant world

CHEOPS identifies phenomenal 'Glory' on distant exoplanet WASP-76b

Assessing the ages of moons from impact craters

NASA unveils probe bound for Jupiter's possibly life-sustaining moon

Juice mission successfully tests Callisto flyby simulation

The PI's Perspective: Needles in the Cosmic Haystack

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.