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The Diversity of Worlds: Comparative Planetology and Habitability

posted Dec 21, 2014, 11:59 PM by Abel Mendez   [ updated Feb 25, 2015, 12:10 PM ]
A session on the Habitability of Exoplanets at the Astrobiology Science Conference 2015

Organizers: Tyler Robinson, NASA Ames Research Center (tyler.d.robinson@nasa.gov)
  Abel Méndez, University of Puerto Rico Arecibo (abel.mendez@upr.edu)
  Rene Heller, McMaster University (rheller@physics.mcmaster.ca)
  Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Washington State University (dirksm@wsu.edu)

Abstract: Near-future telescopes will observe the atmospheres of rocky exoplanets to search for signs of habitability and global biospheres. Interpreting the spectral signatures from these worlds will be a difficult task, especially considering the range of potentially habitable or inhabited worlds, from desert planets devoid of life to super-habitable worlds. By studying Earth’s biosphere as well as the similarities and differences in the rules that govern the atmospheres and interiors of solar system worlds, we can begin to understand how planets, as systems, work. However, holes exist in our understanding of many key atmospheric and geophysical processes relevant to the origin, maintenance, and development of life on a planet. We invite presentations on observations and models of the processes that influence planetary habitability and its evolution through time, as well as studies of prototype biospheres that produce spectral or photometric signatures that could be detected by the next generation of exoplanet characterization missions.