Alien imposters: Planets with oxygen don't necessarily have life

Alien imposters: Planets with oxygen don't necessarily have life
CO2-rich planetary atmosphere exposed to a plasma discharge in Sarah Hörst's lab. Credit: Chao He

In their search for life in solar systems near and far, researchers have often accepted the presence of oxygen in a planet's atmosphere as the surest sign that life may be present there. A new Johns Hopkins study, however, recommends a reconsideration of that rule of thumb.

Simulating in the lab the atmospheres of planets beyond the solar system, researchers successfully created both and oxygen, absent of .

The findings, published Dec. 11 by the journal ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, serve as a cautionary tale for researchers who suggest the presence of oxygen and organics on distant worlds is evidence of life there.

"Our experiments produced oxygen and that could serve as the building blocks of life in the lab, proving that the presence of both doesn't definitively indicate life," says Chao He, assistant research scientist in the Johns Hopkins University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the study's first author. "Researchers need to more carefully consider how these molecules are produced."

Oxygen makes up 20 percent of Earth's atmosphere and is considered one of the most robust biosignature gases in Earth's . In the search for life beyond Earth's , however, little is known about how different energy sources initiate chemical reactions and how those reactions can create biosignatures like oxygen. While other researchers have run photochemical models on computers to predict what exoplanet atmospheres might be able to create, no such simulations to He's knowledge have before now been conducted in the lab.

The research team performed the simulation experiments in a specially designed Planetary HAZE (PHAZER) chamber in the lab of Sarah Hörst, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences and the paper's co-author. The researchers tested nine different gas mixtures, consistent with predictions for super-Earth and mini-Neptune type exoplanet atmospheres; such exoplanets are the most abundant type of planet in our Milky Way galaxy. Each mixture had a specific composition of gases such as carbon dioxide, water, ammonia, and methane, and each was heated at temperatures ranging from about 80 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

He and the team allowed each gas mixture to flow into the PHAZER setup and then exposed the mixture to one of two types of energy, meant to mimic energy that triggers chemical reactions in planetary atmospheres: plasma from an alternating current glow discharge or light from an ultraviolet lamp. Plasma, an energy source stronger than UV light, can simulate electrical activities like lightning and/or energetic particles, and UV light is the main driver of in planetary atmospheres such as those on Earth, Saturn and Pluto.

After running the experiments continuously for three days, corresponding to the amount of time gas would be exposed to energy sources in space, the researchers measured and identified resulting gasses with a mass spectrometer, an instrument that sorts chemical substances by their mass to charge ratio.

The found multiple scenarios that produced both oxygen and organic molecules that could build sugars and amino acids—raw materials for which life could begin—such as formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide.

"People used to suggest that and organics being present together indicates life, but we produced them abiotically in multiple simulations," He says. "This suggests that even the co-presence of commonly accepted biosignatures could be a false positive for life."


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Team performs first laboratory simulation of exoplanet atmospheric chemistry

More information: Chao He et al, Gas Phase Chemistry of Cool Exoplanet Atmospheres: Insight from Laboratory Simulations, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acsearthspacechem.8b00133
Citation: Alien imposters: Planets with oxygen don't necessarily have life (2018, December 17) retrieved 20 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-alien-imposters-planets-oxygen-dont.html
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Dec 17, 2018
% of O2? Because that's what matters

Dec 17, 2018
Well, I'm conflicted!
Satisfied at repeatable. empirical experimentation, to date, displays the difficulty of "creating" Life.
A whole lot of Time & effort will be needed to get to the first self-organizing, self-replicating proto-organism.

& I am dissatisfied at the results. In that random factors did not produce a biology alien to Earth Life.

For those of you who believe in a Universe chuck-full of Living Worlds? This is pretty bad news.

If future experiments continue to produce these results? That would drastically narrow the range of possible Living Worlds to only those strictly equivalent to our Sun & Earth.

That would confirm my speculation that we just had the damn bad luck to come along way too early in this Universe time span. Like I said, we're "sooners".

The good news is? Both the panspermia cult & the anti-modeling cult got their noses thoroughly rubbed into their own steaming piles of crap!

Dec 17, 2018
Among other things, creating life in the laboratory has not been difficult, it has been impossible. Producing chemicals to be found in living things is not a problem. Imbuing them with a constant motivating influence has not occurred.
With respect to the forms of planets considered, note that gas giant planets likely would not form anywhere from 80 to 700 degrees. The temperature from solar radiation would be too high for the planets to be able to keep their atmosphere as they formed. And, remember, planets are viewed as forming from the collecting of meteorite and asteroid bodies. Which means they start small, with even less gravity, less ability to hold volatile substances and gases. Indeed, as with life, it is unlikely anything like what is seen on earth can form without special action by God.

Dec 17, 2018
The presence of oxygen, particularly a substantial percentage, is still a fair indicator that there may be photosynthesis using CO2 and H2O. I'd take those odds to pick a planet to send a probe.

Of course, it is also possible there exist other possible photosynthetic processes that might be able to store stellar energy using a different set of compounds or organic compounds, given different temperatures and pressures.

Down the rabbit hole, looking for traces of more exotic forms of energy storage (like say sulfer-fixing bacteria near volcanic sites, etc) seems like a much smaller footprint and thus harder to detect at a distance.

Dec 17, 2018
Molecular oxygen is difficult to detect, only having one bond. We would likely use ozone as a proxy.

Dec 17, 2018
Probably why Oumuamua decided to time its gravity assist so it could swing by the earth.

Dec 17, 2018
Probably why Oumuamua decided to time its gravity assist so it could swing by the earth.


You need to learn the difference between gravitational assist and non-gravitational acceleration.

Dec 17, 2018
Oh jd, max needs a lot mote than that..
Such as how to read a chart.
Set a Solar grazing course.
Use a chronometer.
Learn the difference between acceleration, ballistic coasting & deceleration.
Navigate the heavens.

& come up with a really good reason for why he wants to anthropomorphize a solid chunk of slagmitte. Knapped out of a shattered asteroid's core.

As with all the other pharaoh god-hing worshipers? He's always chasing after false idols!

Dec 17, 2018
Among other things, creating life in the laboratory has not been difficult, it has been impossible. Producing chemicals to be found in living things is not a problem. Imbuing them with a constant motivating influence has not occurred.
With respect to....And, remember, planets are viewed as forming from the collecting of meteorite and asteroid bodies. Which means they start small, with even less gravity, less ability to hold volatile substances and gases. Indeed, as with life, it is unlikely anything like what is seen on earth can form without special action by God.

says JulianP

Shhh they don't like the word "created". They prefer something more like "manufactured" "colluded" "established" "originated" - anything to detract from the works of an Intelligent Designer. As to who it was that created the Creator - from what I was told - the Creator was the offspring of another Creator predecessor in a continuous lineage.

Dec 17, 2018
-contd-
Among other things, creating life in the laboratory has not been difficult, it has been impossible. Producing chemicals to be found in living things is not a problem. Imbuing them with a constant motivating influence has not occurred.
Indeed, as with life, it is unlikely anything like what is seen on earth can form without special action by God.
says julianpenrod

Precisely - chemists & engineers, et al are unable to give those chemical combinations the proper "logarithms" that begin the Life processes - the codes, as the newbie, JoePizza has said.
A code is necessary to unlock the mystery of creating Life - just as only the knowledge of CODE could enable a safe to be opened. No scientist will ever crack that CODE - and therefore, no scientists will ever create, produce, bring forth, a life except by using the DNA of a predecessor/sister/brother or another who is similar to it. But that's not creating.
One can grow a liver in the lab, but it isn't created


Dec 18, 2018
% of O2? Because that's what matters


Same with the organics, since they are present everywhere we look and, as Titan shows, are easy to produce. This lab demo is of course progress, but it is neither unexpected or unaccounted for - astronomers now expect to use chemical imbalances such as the global (non-volcanic) presence of both oxygen and methane at the same time (as on Earth).

creating life in the laboratory has not been difficult, it has been impossible


This trolling is irrelevant to the detection of life. (It is even irrelevant to astrobiology in the same way as creating a star in the lab is irrelevant to the study of stars, including their emergence. And we already know that life emerged on Earth, that - emergence of life from non-life - is not a subject open for speculation.)


Dec 18, 2018
From article---
"The research team found multiple scenarios that produced both oxygen and organic molecules that could build sugars and amino acids—raw materials for which life could begin—such as formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide."

So if not necessarily detection of life itself, than still the potential for life. Useful data.

Dec 18, 2018
"

"This trolling is irrelevant to the detection of life."
It was a statement of fact, that you perceived it as trolling means you have the problem, not them.
"It is even irrelevant to astrobiology in the same way as creating a star in the lab is irrelevant to the study of stars, including their emergence."

That is irrelevant is it? Maybe if the mainstream could figure out how to do it, it wouldn't be irrelevant...and it would help us understand the field morphologies which lead to their appearance which, if I am not mistaken is something we read about frequently here, making your opinion that it is irrelevant unique.
"And we already know that life emerged on Earth, that - emergence of life from non-life - is not a subject open for speculation.)"
Again...no. We know Earth supports life...as of yet we have not discovered the "moment of genesis" where earth transitioned from no life to life...nor how it happened. Anything regarding the subject is purely speculation.


Dec 18, 2018
@theredpill
Absolutely. It is ALL speculation, supposition, and conjecture by the human mind regarding how life itself was able to appear on this planet - as it remains undiscovered as to the precise materials wrt their quantities, qualities, precision, mixtures, tinctures, temperatures, and time involved for its awakening/quickening. Other than the inclusion of the ability to EVOLVE as needed, the secret to the Special Creativeness that has brought all living things - past and present - into being, has been lost to the ages, and can never be acquired by man for his pleasure and his profit.
That genesis was not a "shot in the dark" as these scientists and laymen would have the curious or genuinely concerned believe, and neither would it be a "shot in the dark" in other viable and suitable worlds/exoplanets where life might thrive. The creation of Life has always been a serious endeavour, as the One who is uniquely qualified for the task had done it but once and never again.

Dec 18, 2018
-contd-
@theredpill et al

Torbjorn bglarsson prides himself on his science savvy and ability to comprehend science papers of whichever discipline. But what throws him for a loop are the words in Genesis where there is a Spiritual Being who is claimed to be responsible for the advent of the first Life form In the waters of Earth - and thence the creation of Man.
tbgl pooh-poohs the very idea, being a man of 5 senses who depends unconditionally on those senses. To such as tbgl, there is no place in this Universe for a Spirit.
The religion that tbgl adheres to is likely a combination of atheism, agnosticism, materialism, anthropocentrism, and the worship of scientism.

"scientism | ˈsīənˌtizəm |
noun rare
thought or expression regarded as characteristic of scientists.
• excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques."

Thus, tbgl (& others) readily accuse those whose beliefs differ from his own as - Trolls - no matter the extent of the belief.


Dec 18, 2018
From article---
"The research team found multiple scenarios that produced both oxygen and organic molecules that could build sugars and amino acids—raw materials for which life could begin—such as formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide."

So if not necessarily detection of life itself, than still the potential for life. Useful data.

says dsylvan

The potential for Life is in many places on and in the Earth. The essential ingredients are here. But "multiple scenarios" along with O2, organic molecules, sugars, amino acids, etc etc etc are not LIFE. All of it can be found in the bodies of humans, animals, and plants/trees at varying degrees and volumes. But LIFE ITSELF and its quickening ELUDES those scientists who are searching for that "holy grail".
There was only ONE SCIENTIST who had that unique ability to CREATE LIFE. and He certainly did not leave the recipe/blueprint/instructions for present-day scientists to play around with.

Dec 19, 2018
@larsson,

What you say makes logical sense. A lot of the trolls after you make no sense, which is to be expected from trolls. Keep it up.

P.S. I'm not going to bother upvoting you or downvoting them. They already collectively do the opposite. Lol.

Dec 19, 2018
Yes JaxP
tbgl does make what could be referred to as Logic and Reason - as the science that he expounds and wholeheartedly believes is very logical and reasonable wrt those CURRENT results of mainstream scientific research. But science research and its results are in a constant state of flux, and what is true one day could suddenly change over the next 24 hours once peer reviewed papers are published - and then tbgl (and others) will again have to hasten to and assimilate the NEWER scientific results into his core beliefs - again. That IS part and parcel of the scientific method - changes to the status quo that science publications rely on to sell their subscriptions, etc.
But it appears that tbgl's MAIN concern now is that some of the commenters in the physorg forums are of the belief/opinion/supposition that a Spiritual Being is/was responsible for the quickening of a group of chemicals and their components/elements that had come together in the ancient waters of Earth

Dec 19, 2018
-cont-
@JaxPavan et al

Of course, tbgLarsson exhibits absolutely NO interest in such possibilities that a Supreme Being was responsible for a "miraculous" giving of Life to such chemicals in the waters of ancient Earth, as tbgl and all other good little atheists abhor any possibility of a Supreme Being that has no material, physical body made of any detectable material substance with the ability to create anything or anyone. AND THEY ARE ALL WELCOME TO THEIR CHOICE and its consequences. A material, physical body is controllable - but not a Spirit.
And so, Torbjorn b.g.Larsson goes into the physorg forums - along with other God-hating atheists and those who just plain have a total disregard - and decides that any and all who profess the belief in a Supreme Being just HAS TO BE A TROLL.

And tbgl lowers himself in physorg to the level of an abusive and insulting name-caller - while also holding himself to a higher platform as a believer in Scientism.

Dec 20, 2018
Well seu, by your version of "Logic
(with your complete absence of rational reason)
such possibilities as __fill__in_the_blank__
the great spaghetti monster in the sky, with meatballs?
cosmically fabulous fairies?
giant space dust bunnies?
cthulhu, in the sky, with diamonds?
deities drunkard's walk?
peyote bud eating godlings?
a reversing oubliette?

Shit, this list could grow exponentially.
& be as accurate a flaming pile of assumptions as your "supreme divine being",

Dec 20, 2018
Uhh williejoe - you forgot to mention Velikovsky and Talbott. Also Zechariah Sitchin, amongst your favorites.
But you and tbgl, et al. are entitled to believe in your spaghetti monsters and the rash of imaginary friends that you speaketh of so eloquently. LOL The fact that you know such names gives proof that you cared enough to seek them out to learn about them to add to your menagerie.
To be perfectly honest, williejoe - nobody really gives a damn that you, tbgl, and all those who are terrified that they may be wrong in their belief in the nonexistence of a Supreme Being, and yet have this great urge to ostracise those of us who have certain knowledge that it is YOU that is wrong/mistaken and disrespectful of the rights of others to believe in that which we/they prefer.
But, carry on as you were, williejoe. Nobody is trying to convert you as you and some others are already a "lost Soul". Just remember - you have been forewarned.

Dec 20, 2018
Oh rrwilliejoe - here is something that is near and dear to your heart, since you are supposedly so concerned about the welfare of women and girls -

https://www.nytim...men.html

Dec 21, 2018

So if not necessarily detection of life itself, than still the potential for life. Useful data.

says dsylvan

The potential for Life is in many places on and in the Earth. The essential ingredients are here. But "multiple scenarios" along with O2, organic molecules, sugars, amino acids, etc etc etc are not LIFE. All of it can be found in the bodies of humans, animals, and plants/trees at varying degrees and volumes. But LIFE ITSELF and its quickening ELUDES those scientists who are searching for that "holy grail".
There was only ONE SCIENTIST who had that unique ability to CREATE LIFE. and He certainly did not leave the recipe/blueprint/instructions for present-day scientists to play around with.

Apparently he did though---because play around we do. Where do you think you came from?

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