Swansong biospheres: The biosignatures of inhabited earth-like planets nearing the end of their habitable lifetimes

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 2013, 8 (S299), pp. 378 - 379
Issue Date:
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The biosignatures of life on Earth are not fixed, but change with time as environmental conditions change and life living within those environments adapts to the new conditions. A latitude-based climate model, incorporating orbital parameter variations, was used to simulate conditions on the far-future Earth as the Sun enters the late main sequence. Over time, conditions increasingly favour a unicellular microbial biosphere, which can persist for a maximum of 2.8 Gyr from present. The biosignature changes associated with the likely biosphere changes are evaluated using a biosphere-atmosphere gas exchange model and their detectability is discussed. As future Earth-like exoplanet discoveries could be habitable planets nearing the end of their habitable lifetimes, this helps inform the search for the signatures of life beyond Earth Copyright © 2013, International Astronomical Union.
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