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Study reveals purple bacteria could provide insights into potential alien life on other planets



Life beyond Earth? Purple bacteria may hold clues to alien life on other planets, study reveals

In the search for extraterrestrial life, scientists are exploring the possibility of purple bacteria as potential alien life forms. A recent study led by researchers from Cornell University suggests that these lavender-hued microbes could thrive on distant planets orbiting dim red stars, expanding the understanding of life beyond Earth’s green chlorophyll-based organisms.

Life on Earth has evolved from purple-pigmented microorganisms to green chlorophyll-based organisms dominating the biosphere over billions of years. Cyanobacteria, the first photosynthesizing species, began harnessing sunlight with chlorophyll about 2.4 billion years ago, releasing oxygen as a byproduct.

Researchers believe that the purple-pigment molecule retinal, previously used by microorganisms for energy production before chlorophyll-based photosynthesis, could leave a unique signature detectable by advanced telescopes on other planets. Lígia Fonseca Coelho from the Carl Sagan Institute highlighted the adaptability of purple bacteria in environments without competition from green plants and algae.

The study emphasizes the importance of broadening the search for alien life beyond Earth’s traditional green organisms. With advancements in telescope technology, scientists are hopeful that they may soon detect the unique signatures of purple bacteria on distant planets, bringing us closer to unraveling the mysteries of the universe.

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