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Photosynthesis of Exoplanet Plants

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  • The search for planets outside the solar system has proven successful However, the ultimate goal of finding extrasolar life is still distant, if not unobtainable. However, this has not stopped theorists from modeling the type of life that would exist on alien worlds, and the adaptations these organisms would make to their environments in contrast to those of Earth's.

    One of the most important natural processes on Earth is photosynthesis, developed by plants. Photosynthesis creates an oxygen-rich atmosphere necessary for other forms of life to survive, using carbon dioxide as fuel. The reaction for photosynthesis is:

    \[\ce{ CO2 (g) + H2O (l) + light energy -> [CH2O] (s) + O2 (g)}\]

    ΔH ≈ 469 kJ mol–1

    Photosynthesis is not a spontaneous reaction, as indicated by the ΔH of the reaction, which is positive and means that energy input is required for the reaction. Furthermore, photosynthesis requires specific light-sensitive cells to harness light from the Sun and produce ATP and other energy transport compounds required to convert CO2 to O2. The cells in plants that accomplish this contain chlorophyll, the green pigment that gives most plants their color. Chlorophyll is green because it reflects green light, absorbing wavelengths of other colors.

    Work in progress. Rhetue 15:28, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\) Artist's conception of an exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star.

    From ChemPRIME: 11.14: Redox Reactions

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