Will We Know Life When We See It?

UW researchers in the Virtual Planetary Laboratory led and were co-authors on a series of papers published in the journal Astrobiology outlining the history—and suggesting the future—of the search for life on exoplanets. In this set of papers, researchers investigated the most promising signs of life (biosignatures), and considered how to interpret these signs if we were to detect them on an exoplanet. “For life to be detectable on a distant world it needs to strongly modify its planet in a way that we can detect,” said UW astronomy professor Victoria Meadows. The UW news highlight can be found here and the NASA press release can be found here.