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DIX Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Arms 155 (Robert P. Sharp Lecture Hall)
The Planet We Could Not Imagine
Stephen Kane, Professor of Planetary Astrophysics, Departments of Earth and Planetary Science and Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Riverside,

A fundamental aspect of understanding the limits of habitable environments and detectable signatures is the study of where the boundaries of such environments can occur, and the conditions under which a planet is rendered into a hostile environment. In our solar system, Venus is the most Earth-like planet, yet at some point in planetary history there was a bifurcation between the two: Earth has been continually habitable since the end-Hadean, whereas Venus became uninhabitable. Indeed, Venus is the type-planet for a world that has transitioned from habitable and Earth-like conditions, through the inner edge of the Habitable Zone (HZ); thus it provides a natural laboratory to study the evolution of habitability. In this talk I will describe the gaps in our knowledge regarding Venus within the context of how these gaps are impacting our ability to model exoplanet atmospheres and interiors. I will discuss various factors that relate to a possible habitable past of Venus, including orbital evolution. I will outline exoplanet target selection for testing the conditions of runaway greenhouse and present examples of potential Venus analogs. Finally, I will summarize the primary exoplanet science questions that would be addressed by a return mission to Venus.

For more information, please contact Maria Camarca by email at [email protected].