Learning about Venus, lecture 2019-05-09

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Peter Jedicke
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Learning about Venus, lecture 2019-05-09

Post by Peter Jedicke » April 25th, 2019, 9:29 pm

Western University, Department of Physics and Astronomy
presents a colloquium on Thursday, 2019-05-09, at 13:30 in the Physics & Astronomy Seminar Room 100
Dr. Stephen Kane
Department of Earth Sciences, University of California - Riverside
on the topic
“Venus as a Laboratory for Exoplanetary Science”

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. Whilst ever we struggle to understand the fundamental properties of the Earth-sized planet directly next door, the task of characterizing the surface environments of Earth-sized planets around other stars will remain proportionally inaccessible. In this talk, the gaps in our knowledge regarding Venus will be described within the context of how these gaps are impacting our ability to model exoplanet atmospheres and interiors. The premise behind the “Venus Zone” will be outlined, and how testing the conditions of runaway greenhouse is an essential component of understanding the development of habitable conditions. Several detected potential Venus analogs will be presented, including detailed climate simulations that constrain their surface environments. Further, the expected yield of Venus analogs from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be presented, and the potential for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Finally, the primary exoplanet science questions that would be addressed by a return surface mission to Venus will be summarized.
Peter Jedicke, FRASC
London Centre Honorary President

"It could be true that my interest in abstractions is now being forgiven on grounds of senility." (Marilynne Robinson, "Gilead")

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