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Detectability of red-edge-shifted vegetation on terrestrial planets orbiting M stars

Tinetti, Giovanna and Rashby, Sky and Yung, Yuk L. (2006) Detectability of red-edge-shifted vegetation on terrestrial planets orbiting M stars. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 644 (2). L129-L132. ISSN 2041-8205.

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We have explored the detectability of exovegetation on the surface of a terrestrial planet orbiting an M star. The exovegetation is responsible for producing a pigment-derived surface signature that is redshifted with respect to the Earth vegetation's red edge. The redshift was estimated using a model of leaf optical property spectra (Jacquemoud & Baret) combined with a 3 photon photosynthetic scheme calculated by Wolstencroft & Raven for a possible exovegetation growing on an M star planet. To study the detectability of this surface biosignature on an M star terrestrial planet, we have used the three-dimensional model developed by Tinetti et al. for the case of the Earth. This model can generate disk-averaged spectra and broadband integrated fluxes, which will be useful for future terrestrial planet exploration missions, such as the NASA Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph. Input to this model were the atmospheric profiles and cloud distributions predicted by Joshi and coworkers for a synchronous planet orbiting an M dwarf and the distinctive surface reflectance of the exovegetation. While on Earth this pigment-derived surface feature would be almost completely masked by water absorption, even in a cloud-free atmosphere, we found that the strength of the edge feature on our simulated M star terrestrial planet can exceed that on Earth, given the right conditions. Obviously, the detectability of such biosignatures would be highly dependent on the extent of vegetation surface area, cloud cover, and viewing angle.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2006 American Astronomical Society. Received 2006 February 3; accepted 2006 May 12; published 2006 June 13. We would like to thank M. Joshi, V. S. Meadows, D. Crisp, and R. L. Shia for their valuable inputs, X. Jiang, V. Natraj, M. C. Liang, X. Guo, M. Gerstell, and C. D. Parkinson for useful comments, and the referee for improvements to the Letter. Part of this work was performed at the California Institute of Technology. G. Tinetti is currently sponsored by the European Space Agency. Y. L. Yung was partly supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through the NASA Astrobiology Institute (CAN-00-OSS-01) and a NASA grant (NASA 5-13296).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Space Agency (ESA)UNSPECIFIED
NASA Astrobiology InstituteCAN-00-OSS-01
NASANASA 5-13296
Subject Keywords:astrobiology; atmospheric effects; radiative transfer; stars: late-type
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140821-154655560
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Official Citation:Detectability of Red-Edge-shifted Vegetation on Terrestrial Planets Orbiting M Stars Giovanna Tinetti et al. 2006 ApJ 644 L129
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48786
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:22 Aug 2014 05:58
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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