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Extraterrestrial

Alien life may be purple, scientists claim

By T.K. Randall
October 28, 2018 · Comment icon 5 comments



Should we be looking for a 'pale purple dot' ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Tyrogthekreeper
According to a new paper, a thriving extraterrestrial world could be predominantly purple rather than green.
When it comes to imagining what life on other worlds may be like, it's easy to get caught up in picturing a world not dissimilar to our own with landmasses swathed in green trees and grass.

But what if extraterrestrial life was a color other than green ? How would an alien world look then ?

In a recent study, two scientists attempted to answer this question by looking back in to our own planet's distant past to a time when life on Earth may have exhibited a distinctively purple tinge.
The organisms responsible for this, which may have thrived very early on in Earth's history, capture solar energy with a molecule called retinal ( plants and photosynthesizing algae use chlorophyll. )

If this can happen on our own planet, then perhaps purple life forms could dominate elsewhere as well.

"If these organisms were present in sufficient densities on an exoplanet, those reflection properties would be imprinted on that planet's reflected light spectrum," said co-author Edward Schwieterman.

Perhaps keeping an eye out for a purple alien planet is not such a strange idea after all.

Source: Live Science | Comments (5)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by acute 4 years ago
Grey. They're grey. We know they're grey. And bug-eyed.
Comment icon #2 Posted by ouija ouija 4 years ago
 
Comment icon #3 Posted by fred_mc 4 years ago
Yes, but looking for a grey planet because of that wouldn't be a good idea, it would be like looking for a brown planet just because many people on earth have brown skin colour.
Comment icon #4 Posted by DanL 4 years ago
Maybe that is where Grape Ape came from!!
Comment icon #5 Posted by lost_shaman 4 years ago
The theory seems sound, and we should look for both types of spectrum anomalies to be sure, but honestly we are talking about very simple oceanic life forms here. That said the idea of Purple Rain forests and Purple animals on landmasses on Exo-planets is highly unlikely for the same reasons the Authors point out, that being that green light reflecting Chlorophyll photosynthesis is simply so much better at producing energy than Retinal.   


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