And we Think Gray Plants are Awesome?

“The vegetable kingdom in Mars, instead of having green for a dominant colour, is of a vivid blood-red tint,” wrote H.G. Wells in War of the Worlds a century ago, when astronomers were trying to account for the planet’s color.

He may have been on to something, though not on that particular planet. Today, scientists searching for extraterrestrial life believe plants on other worlds might not be green. Their color would depend mainly on the type of star supplying the light used in photosynthesis. Plants on Earth are green because our sun is a relatively hot F-type star and chlorophyll is the appropriate photosynthetic pigment. But, as Scientific American reports, plants on planets orbiting feeble red dwarfs, the most abundant type of star in the Milky Way, might need to be black to absorb all the available light. On the other hand, plants growing in the light of a supergiant F-type sun might be shiny blue to survive its scorching rays. Don’t miss the fantastic artist’s renderings of these and other alien plants in the accompanying slide show.

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