Friday, September 30, 2022

Salt may be the key to life on Earth and beyond

major research discovery

The composition of the atmosphere, especially the abundance of greenhouse gases, influences Earth’s climate. Researchers at Purdue University led by Stephanie Olson, assistant professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, recently found that the presence of salt in seawater could have a major impact on the habitability of Earth and other planets. The team used a climate model to examine the world’s climate with varying amounts of salt dissolved in seawater, to infer that saltier oceans result in warmer climates and, therefore, host life. could assist the planet’s ability to

Purdue Professor’s Expertise

Stephanie Olson, Purdue assistant professor of Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences, studies the co-evolution of life and Earth’s environment to guide the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

Journal Name

Geophysical Research Papers. The paper is available online.

Grant

NASA Habitable Worlds

NASA Interdisciplinary Consortia for Astrobiology Research (ICAR)

This work benefited from participation in the NASA Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NEXSS) and the Network for Ocean Worlds (NOW).

Brief Summary of Methods

The study focused specifically on how the amount of salt dissolved in seawater affects planetary climates. The team’s findings were that saltier oceans result in warmer climates. This salt may have been a major component of Earth’s early habitation in the distant past, when the Sun was less bright. The finding may also apply to the habitability of other planets, potentially allowing life beyond our solar system to exist more than previously thought from its host star.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report in each of the past four years, Purdue offers world-changing research and out-of-this-world exploration. Committed to practical and online, real-world learning, Purdue provides a transformative education for all. Committed to affordability and access, Purdue has capped tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students to graduate debt-free than ever before. See how Purdue never stops in its relentless pursuit of the next giant leap https://stories.purdue.edu

Author: Cheryl Pierce

media Contact: Brittany Steff, [email protected]

Source: Stephanie Olson, [email protected]

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