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Is Oxygen a "False Positive" for Alien Life?

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Is Oxygen a "False Positive" for Alien Life?

New research suggests that an exoplanet's atmosphere can contain lots of oxygen — none of it created by life — if bathed in the wrong mix of ultraviolet radiation from its host star.

Fact: free oxygen shouldn't exist in Earth's atmosphere. It's orders of magnitude out of equilibrium with the other gases in the mix. But, thanks to the rise of photosynthetic organisms, its abundance started increasing some 2.2 to 2.4 billion years ago, and (thankfully) it's here to stay.

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