Weekly Space Hangout: January 4, 2023 – Dr. Eddie Schwieterman Discusses Nitrous Oxide as a Biosignature

Historically, scientists using spectrographic analysis to study exoplanet atmospheres have considered oxygen and methane as two key biosignatures when identifying “life-friendly” planets. But could nitrous oxide (N2O) — aka “Laughing Gas” — also be a reliable biosignature? A recent paper published in the October, 2022, Astrophysical Journal explains why N2O can — and should — be included as a biosignature gas. Tonight we are pleased to welcome the paper’s lead author, Dr. Eddie Schwieterman, astrobiologist at UC Riverside, to discuss why N2O is an indicator of life. Read More