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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information


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The Planet We Could Not Imagine

Friday February 12, 2021
3:30 pm

 Presenter:  Stephen Kane, UC Riverside
 Series:  Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
 Abstract:  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 surface mission to Venus.
 Location:  Via Zoom. Contact the department for password

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