Los Angeles Times

The search for life on other planets could get a boost from biosignatures

By studying the atmospheric contents of ancient and present-day Earth, scientists say they've discovered specific chemical combinations that could reveal the presence of biological activity on other planets.

These biosignatures, described in the journal Science Advances, could offer a key tool in the search for extraterrestrial life.

"There's a direct path from the conclusions of our work to the possible discovery, which would be an historic one, of life elsewhere," said senior author David Catling, a planetary scientist and astrobiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Thousands of planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets, have been discovered in the last

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