Astrophys. J., 812, 137 (2015/October-3)
Abiotic O2 levels on planets around F, G, K, and M stars: possible false positives for life?
HARMAN C.E., SCHWIETERMAN E.W., SCHOTTELKOTTE J.C. and KASTING J.F.
Abstract (from CDS):
In the search for life on Earth-like planets around other stars, the first (and likely only) information will come from the spectroscopic characterization of the planet's atmosphere. Of the countless number of chemical species terrestrial life produces, only a few have the distinct spectral features and the necessary atmospheric abundance to be detectable. The easiest of these species to observe in Earth's atmosphere is O2(and its photochemical byproduct, O3). However, O2 can also be produced abiotically by photolysis of CO2, followed by recombination of O atoms with each other. CO is produced in stoichiometric proportions. Whether O2and CO can accumulate to appreciable concentrations depends on the ratio of far-ultraviolet (FUV) to near-ultraviolet (NUV) radiation coming from the planet's parent star and on what happens to these gases when they dissolve in a planet's oceans. Using a one-dimensional photochemical model, we demonstrate that O2derived from CO2photolysis should not accumulate to measurable concentrations on planets around F- and G-type stars. K-star, and especially M-star planets, however, may build up O2 because of the low NUV flux from their parent stars, in agreement with some previous studies. On such planets, a ''false positive'' for life is possible if recombination of dissolved CO and O2in the oceans is slow and if other O2sinks (e.g., reduced volcanic gases or dissolved ferrous iron) are small. O3, on the other hand, could be detectable at UV wavelengths (λ < 300 nm) for a much broader range of boundary conditions and stellar types.
planet-star interactions - planets and satellites: atmospheres - planets and satellites: terrestrial planets - ultraviolet: planetary systems
View the reference in ADS
To bookmark this query, right click on this link: simbad:2015ApJ...812..137H and select 'bookmark this link' or equivalent in the popup menu