To see that Red
Edge, and to find oxygen, and to see variations in brightness due
to continents, would be the real jump.
When this first direct glimpse of the surface
of an extra-solar Earth, at a stage of its life cycle comparable
to that of our own, is caught, the above image is what I believe
will be seen. I believe It will display a continent configuration
exactly the same as our own. If it is at an earlier stage its continents
will be obscured by an atmosphere comparable to Venus', and if it
is at a later stage, like Mars, it will have no liquid water left
and so its former continents will not be discernible by Earthshine.
For an overview of why I believe this tectonic
pattern is common to all major planets, see 'The
I believe the tectonic activity of an Earth
is a universal pattern that all planets undergo, and as all people
have two eyes, a nose and a mouth, and all four leafed clovers have
four leaves, so all Earths look like this one when in their prime.