Discussion Questions: Detecting Life on Other Planets
- Explain the evidence that scientists use to infer the presence of carbon dioxide, water, methane, or ozone in the atmosphere of another planet.
- Why do scientists examine absorption spectra to try to identify extraterrestrial life? What assumption are they making when they use this technique?
- What is meant by a "golden fingerprint"? Why is there a different fingerprint for different times in Earth's history?
- Is it possible that life forms can be found on planets with very different atmospheric compositions than that of Earth? Explain.