Circular Spectropolarimetric Sensing of Vegetation in the Field: Possibilities for the Remote Detection of Extraterrestrial Life

C. H.Lucas Patty, Inge Loes Ten Kate, Wybren Jan Buma, Rob J.M. Van Spanning, Gábor Steinbach, Freek Ariese, Frans Snik

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Homochirality is a generic and unique property of all biochemical life, and the fractional circular polarization of light it induces therefore constitutes a potentially unambiguous biosignature. However, while high-quality circular polarimetric spectra can be easily and quickly obtained in the laboratory, accurate measurements in the field are much more challenging due to large changes in illumination and target movement. In this study, we measured various targets in the field, up to distances of a few kilometers, using the dedicated circular spectropolarimeter TreePol. We show how photosynthetic life can readily be distinguished from abiotic matter. We underline the potential of circular polarization signals as a remotely accessible means to characterize and monitor terrestrial vegetation, for example, for agriculture and forestry. In addition, we discuss the potential of circular polarization for the remote detection of extraterrestrial life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1229
Number of pages9
JournalAstrobiology
Volume19
Issue number10
Early online date27 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019

Fingerprint

Exobiology
extraterrestrial life
circular polarization
vegetation
polarization
Forestry
Agriculture
Lighting
lighting
forestry
agriculture
polarimeters
Light
monitors
monitoring
illumination
detection

Keywords

  • Biosignatures
  • Circular spectropolarimetry
  • Homochirality
  • Life detection
  • Photosynthesis
  • Remote sensing

Cite this

Patty, C. H.Lucas ; Ten Kate, Inge Loes ; Buma, Wybren Jan ; Van Spanning, Rob J.M. ; Steinbach, Gábor ; Ariese, Freek ; Snik, Frans. / Circular Spectropolarimetric Sensing of Vegetation in the Field : Possibilities for the Remote Detection of Extraterrestrial Life. In: Astrobiology. 2019 ; Vol. 19, No. 10. pp. 1221-1229.
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Circular Spectropolarimetric Sensing of Vegetation in the Field : Possibilities for the Remote Detection of Extraterrestrial Life. / Patty, C. H.Lucas; Ten Kate, Inge Loes; Buma, Wybren Jan; Van Spanning, Rob J.M.; Steinbach, Gábor; Ariese, Freek; Snik, Frans.

In: Astrobiology, Vol. 19, No. 10, 03.10.2019, p. 1221-1229.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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