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Photosynthetic potential of planets in 3: 2 spin-orbit resonances

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Astrobiology
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2014

Abstract

Photosynthetic life requires sufficient photosynthetically active radiation to metabolize. On Earth, plant behaviour, physiology and metabolism are sculpted around the night-day cycle by an endogenous biological circadian clock. The evolution of life was influenced by the Earth-Sun orbital dynamic, which generates the photo-environment incident on the planetary surface. In this work, the unusual photo-environment of an Earth-like planet (ELP) in 3:2 spin-orbit resonance is explored. Photo-environments on the ELP are longitudinally differentiated, in addition to differentiations related to latitude and depth (for aquatic organisms) which are familiar on Earth. The light environment on such a planet could be compatible with Earth's photosynthetic life although the threat of atmospheric freeze-out and prolonged periods of darkness would present significant challenges. We emphasize the relationship between the evolution of life on a planetary body with its orbital dynamics.

    Research areas

  • extrasolar planets, photosynthesis, spin-orbit resonance, MAIN-SEQUENCE STARS, LIFE-SPAN, CATASTROPHIC DARKNESS, TERRESTRIAL PLANETS, SPECTRAL SIGNATURES, RESTING STAGES, POLAR FORESTS, EXOPLANETS, RADIATION, HABITABILITY

ID: 21168932