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LUVOIR seminar

January

31

Exoplanet Habitability in the LUVOIR Era
Prof. Rory Barnes (University of Washington, Seattle)

LUVOIR will offer unprecedented opportunities to study potentially habitable exoplanets. If we define planetary habitability as an environmental state that permits liquid water to persist on a planetary surface for geologic timescales, it is imperative that scientists identify and self-consistently model the diverse phenomena that permit and prevent liquid surface water. I will outline the relevant processes, which span sizescales ranging from the planetary core to the galaxy and timescales spanning seconds to gigayears, and describe an approach that can simulate planetary system evolution over billions of years and track the fate of water. Once LUVOIR spectra are in hand, their correct interpretation will rely on a robust understanding of environmental context. The complexity of planet formation and evolution make such an understanding challenging, but a concerted and collaborative effort by astronomers and geoscientists over the next two decades may provide a foundation for the identification of diagnostics that distinguish biosignatures from abiotic features. I will describe the emerging field of "exogeoscience," which connects galactic, stellar, orbital, geophysical and geochemical processes, that will provide the framework for interpreting LUVOIR spectra of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres.

 
Date January 31, 2018
Start/End Time 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Location B34/E215
Event Type Seminars/Colloquia
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