Importance of Natural Resources

Detecting Alien Biofluorescence


As thought on astrobiology has progressed
over recent years along with the discovery of planets orbiting stars such as Proxima
Centauri and the Trappist-1 system, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the most
common type of star in the universe, Type M red dwarfs, may not be ideal for life to
arise on worlds within their habitable zones, This is partly due to the rather life unfriendly
conditions these stars present early in their lives. Standing in favor of red dwarfs as systems
hosting life is the fact that they are everywhere in the universe, common as can be, and they
are also very long-lived, trillions of years. Standing against them at this point are a
lot of things, unfortunately. Questions are being asked about tidal locking
and the effects of it. Planets within the habitable zones of red
dwarfs will tend to tidal lock as they are so close in to their parent star, so they
would tend to present only one face towards the star in the same way that the moon only
ever shows one face to earth. This could create extreme temperature differences
between each side of the planet, and there’s also the question of tidal heating itself,
as the star’s gravity acts on the planet. And things like weather and intense cloud
formation could alter the equation of distributing heat around a tidally locked world. There are other things such as the low light
output of a red dwarf makes for a very small habitable zone, decreasing the chances of
any planets being present within them. But examples have been already found of this. But perhaps one of the more serious challenges
for red dwarf systems to be habitable is ultra violet light. One issue is that red dwarfs tend to flare
spectacularly, and the habitable zone is very close in, bathing any planets within the habitable
zone with deadly ultraviolet light. Intense ultraviolet light is typically not
good for life at all, as evidenced by sunburns here on earth. If the problem of ultraviolet light and red
dwarf exoplanets proves to be a deal breaker for life, then this is bad news for life in
the universe in general. It would mean that 85 to 90 percent of the
stars in the universe could be uninhabitable for the very earliest stages of life. And that would be a shame, since red dwarfs
otherwise would be well suited for life and even civilizations later on. And there may be a limit here to how long
life can exist on red dwarfs, as they may lose their water, or even their atmospheres,
in that environment over the course of billions of years. But, in a new paper, we may have a glimmer
of hope in regards to the ultraviolet light.In a paper by Jack O’Malley-James and Lisa
Kaltenegger, link below, they detail that life around red dwarf stars might not only
exist, but might produce an easily detectable biosignature as a result of a certain adaptation
to UV. This is due to the fact that some life on
earth has actually evolved to do just that. Some life on earth, such as certain corals,
have evolved to deal with ultraviolet light through a phenomenon known as bioflourescence. This is different from bioluminescence, where
the chemistry going on in an organism actually produces light. Bioflourescence occurs when light is absorbed
at the atomic level, and then emitted at a lower energy level. Essentially the coral has adapted to shift
the ultraviolet light into harmless visible light wavelengths and radiate it back out
to get rid of it. This essentially causes the coral to glow
when exposed to UV, you can take an ultraviolet light to them and they fluoresce, just like
some rocks do. This leads to a familiar yet alien possibility
for life on exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs. If the life on those worlds has adapted similarly
to the coral to deal with the massive influx of ultraviolet light when the red dwarf flares,
a sort of bioflash coincident with the flare hitting might occur as a result. Inhabited red dwarf exoplanets may briefly
glow or flash in response to a flare in a very characteristic way revealing the underlying
biosphere to us. If you detect a flare coming off a red dwarf,
and you see the exoplanet react with a momentary flash of its own, then life is likely to be
the cause. The researchers point out that this may be
detectable from earth as new instruments come online in coming years and we study new exoplanets
in detail. This is just one more tool in the kit resulting
from recent thought on the subject of biosignatures from scientists. Other options for biosignatures include the
vegetative red edge, where photosynthesizing plant life on earth becomes reflective in
infrared, and if we see that on exoplanets, we’d know there was analogues of plant life
there. But there may be an even better hope for red
dwarf systems. We tend to be a little chauvenistic when we
consider habitable zones. We live on a rather nice planet in the habitable
zone of a very nice star. And we evolved here. But there may be another model for life around
red dwarfs. Actually, there’s probably two. Ice shell moons like Europa are a possibility
at least for providing liquid water and protection from the star. But there’s another, a Titan like world
where methane-based life could get started in liquid hydrocarbon lakes. This would be low temperature life, but that’s
on the table as a possibility for Titan. But in a red dwarf context the interesting
thing about Titan is that its atmosphere is transparent to red and infrared light, which
red dwarfs certainly have, allowing more light to reach the surface of the planet. So Titan-like planets orbiting red dwarfs
might offer an entirely new, second type of habitable zone that’s free from most of
the problems that face standard liquid water habitable zones around red dwarfs. And that’s just simple life. Civilizations colonizing red dwarfs is another
game entirely. They are attractive for it if you have the
technology to mitigate all the issues. You could literally set up camp at one and
draw energy from it for trillions of years. There are ways we can detect the activities
of such civilizations, so maybe, just maybe, instead of detecting a biosignature from a
red dwarf system, we will see a technosignature instead. Thanks for listening! I am futurist and science fiction author John
Michael Godier currently addressing the critics that say what’s onscreen in my videos often
doesn’t match what I’m monologuing about. I have no idea what you’re talking about
and be sure to check out my books at your favorite online book retailer and subscribe
to my channels for regular, in-depth explorations into the interesting, weird and unknown aspects
of this amazing universe in which we live.


Reader Comments

  1. Can we detect Rogue Supermassive Black Holes? Find out on John Michael Godier’s Event Horizon. https://youtu.be/d2kmL5PQOR4

  2. Very interesting. I have a question about Type-M Red Dwarfs being the most common stars – what is the ratio of them compared to stars like ours, or other types which are more conducive to life?

  3. Huh.
    I've never thought your visuals were out of context with your narration.

    I guess some people are picky about their free science.

  4. I think there are plenty of ways life could survive around a red dwarf.

    1) Thick atmosphere and oceans. The dwarf would strip these over billions of years before calming down, but that could transform worlds more like mini-Neptunes into habitable, more earth like worlds. So this may not be a bad thing.

    2) Life on the margins. Tidally locked worlds might be too sun scorched to support life on their sun-facing sides, but along the terminator between day and night the environment could be far more welcoming. On a small earth sized world that’s not much real estate, but on a larger or drier world that could be more than enough of an environment for life.

    3) Earthlike exomoons. These wouldn’t have the tidal locking issues a planet suffers around a red dwarf. If they orbit a large-enough gas giant it’ll act like a giant heat lamp, radiating and reflecting enough energy to keep the moon’s surface substantially warmer than it would otherwise be. That would allow the world to orbit farther from the temperamental red dwarf.

  5. You have a great voice and cadence for this platform. Love your videos. I can see that a lot of work goes into them! Thank You.

  6. Excellent content on your channel. I've always the odds of alien intelligence on K-type stars. They're in between red dwarves and G-type stars like the sun, with long lives, much less UV, good goldilocks zones so less chance of being tidally locked. I'm keeping my eye on HD 85512. It has a Super Earth in the habitable zone and is only 36 lightyears away.

  7. "I don't even know how to say that word in the title". Clicks video anyway because it's good content! Keep up the fantastic work!

  8. I often close my tablet and just listen to you, so the visuals are of no consequence AFAIC. (One of the perks of Premium YT is that it keeps playing even though you put your tablet to sleep. And . . . if you run iOS, the clock can be set as a timer that stops playing whatever is playing. So, you can set a timer for 30 minutes and put on a lecture or documentary on YT, put the tablet to sleep, roll over, close your eyes, and let the audio lull you to sleep!)

  9. What about latter their life's. And I can see a species thinking tidal locking .as one of rare conditions . Life have adapt to constant shifting of light& darker but with matterials in wind blowing from hot to could blowing water .the surface would ship wait and shifting sycle instead of spinning

  10. I don’t like going to bed unless I’m listening to one of your videos like an audio book, the brain don’t rest til I do

  11. As the wind blows water and other matterials to tge could side . And the side away from the sun would get heavier and turn . Starting a shifting cycle instead of spining

  12. I hope Curiosity kicks over a rock and spots something scurrying away underground soon, before we contaminate Mars any further.

  13. Perhaps the intelligent aliens have a penchant for black light posters…and they've come to Earth to pillage every Spencer's store in existence.

  14. I am a little confused about the part in the beginning about red dwarfs. Is the expected habitable zone for them that much different from the sun’s? In our solar system Mercury isn’t close enough to be tidally locked so I would think the habitable zone of a red dwarf should extend far enough out to include at least some planets that aren’t tidally locked but I am no expert so if anyone could clarify I would appreciate it.

  15. Future genetic adaptations to deal with UV via bioluminescence😒,….wait😞,….Boobs that glow in the dark😲,….i'm in😎.

  16. I think the big question is whether any of the tidally locked rocky planets of M-class stars have atmospheres and water. If they do, life could survive in geothermal vents and in a "deep biosphere" despite intense UV and flares, and then maybe come out on the surface after the star quiets down. But if the active phase of young M stars always strips off atmospheres and hydrospheres of tidally locked planets, there is probably not much chance for life.

  17. The debate over red dwarves rages on! Since they represent at least 70% of all stellar objects, the idea that they are all write-offs for habitation is a distasteful one. Recent observations indicate that their planetary systems tend to be compressed deep within their gravity wells, allowing for multiple worlds within their thin life zones. Trappist 1 and Jupiter are examples of this. The planets' interactions plus their proximity to their suns might well allow for tidal friction and ongoing internal thermal dynamics. This, in turn, could power volcanic outgassing and strong geomagnetic fields to protect their environments. Certainly, such planets would be tough environments for earthly life at best, but hope is not lost. Besides, any starship that made its way to one of them would have the knowledge and technology to reclaim a desert world for limited habitability at least. They'd already have Mars as a template.

  18. Always love your stuff. It's nice to have a channel on YouTube that largely focuses on potential alien life without giving off "9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB THE MOON LANDING WAS FAKE OBAMA WAS A REPTILIAN LETS INVADE AREA 51" vibes. Science based is the way to beeeee.

  19. Sometimes your video clips DO line up with what you're saying and I've often wondered about that. Are there just a few cases where you have edited an appropriate clip in? or is it just a "limited number of clips + ever increasing amount of talking = eventually some things will match up" type situation?

  20. I believe life comes in more forms than we currently are aware of and if I had to guess I'd say there will be red dwarfs that have planets that evolved life in one form or another. Intelligent life though I think is the rare fluke we got gifted with.

  21. 0:34 They (red dwarfs) are very long lived… trillions of years. ??
    That's a pretty audacious extrapolation, considering that we're only 14 billion years out from the Big Bang.

  22. A simple solution for planets around red dwarf stars are not just methane world like Titan but you could have ammonia world's. Ammonia would be a perfectly good solvent for life and unlike methane it could mix with water to produce water worlds that exist far below freezing.

  23. There’s no life on a red dwarf systems. Any planet in a red dwarf system’s “habitatal” zone would have their atmospheres blown away. We could make up a bunch of mumbo jumbo excuses but it’s not practical.

  24. But what if there was life on a moon around a gas giant within the habitable zone of the star. It wouldn't be tidally locked then

  25. honestly, I always treated this channel like a sorta podcast like thing anyway. You could flash any random space image on the screen and I would still be completely enthralled.

  26. John Remember one time. I said my daughter fell out of bed. In the Middle of the night. So I was just listening to Some of your videos and She aint fell out of bed sense. She's almost 4 and she's doing good and I've been teaching her about the universe space and stars and everything else. Lol she's like do I really have to listen to this guy again dad. I'm like well listen to his voice it's soothing. She has a big smile on her face when she says that. Btw

  27. I see Jean Michael, I click, it's that simple, and I'm a simple man. I'm cool when ducks or dinosaurs appear on screen on a tidal-locked world. Hell, if we keep melting greenlands, maybe WE will be a tidal locked world, and think how much fun THAT would be! ?!YOU'LL WANT YOUR FUCKING DUCKS THEN, no?!

  28. Most people don't care about alien life on other worlds unless it's intelligent life. What most people want to find is another earth-like planet so we can migrate ! … and we need our scientists to develop faster than light travel .. and anti-gravity devices ..Oooopps ! They'd rather play with Big Bang theories ..UG!

  29. That's interesting, thank you for the video and link. Haha! The people who criticise the images on screen will be having kittens, excellent!

  30. The sheer number of red dwarf stars leads me to believe that a certain percentage of those stars, however small, will have planets in their habitable zones with substantial atmospheres.

  31. Just wait till we find the species that live under red stars that look at our less common yellow g type stars and say "we didn't think life could evolve that far away from a star!?"

  32. Ok fella,I have subscribed as you are not some lunatic spouting on nonsense about aliens etc. Very enjoyable science based hypotheses. Have one of these also 👍

  33. Cool video JMG. I would like to see a future video about life around F-type stars.

    Yes I know F-type stars don't live as long as Sunlike stars but it's probably long enough for life to develop, maybe even intelligent life. Earth-like planets around F-type stars would've longer seasons, more UV radiation (which means plants could've a different color, purple plants instead of green ones) and many more different factors.

    Greetings from the Netherlands. 🙂

  34. the sunlight is good for you, two to three hours a day is good for you, without sunlight you will die in 15 to 20 years. in the winter months you feel the lack of sunlight and long for the warming rays of spring sunshine, that is your bodies way of saying "i need some sun"

  35. technology is unsustainable, rather build a self sustainable environment and no technology is needed if a near extinction event happens.

  36. All it takes is just one moment to fall from grace sir godier…i used to go crazy on ur videos until i see a disgusting video "No mars colony for humans"…i dont know but u just lost a crazy me…i still respect u a lot but sad to unsubscribe😞😞

  37. Do you think that there seems to be pointers here on Earth for looking at alternative life forms out there? The oceans are home to so many alien forms that we see so imagine how much more is there as we have not, yet, monitored much of the water here on h Earth. Now extrapolate that and I am sure that there are many habitats in the Universe that we have no idea of and cannot imagine the way that life may form. We are blinkered by our arrogance.

  38. Must say I never really watch the visuals, just listen and use my imagination, as a lot of this is speculation, great as it is.
    I speculate we may never achieve the answers to the questions.
    I also HOPE we do

  39. Indeed red dwarf stars are very intriguing. Perhaps there are differences among them to give rise to life. With all those trillions of years.

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