Northwestern Events Calendar

Apr
23
2021

Joint Interdisciplinary Colloquium, Jim Kasting: "The Search for Life on Planets Around Other Stars"

Jim Kasting

When: Friday, April 23, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: CIERA Astrophysics   (847) 491-8646

Group: CIERA - Interdisciplinary Colloquia

Category: Lectures & Meetings, Academic

Description:

Northwestern University's Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) presents a joint interdisciplinary colloquium with the Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Earth & Planetary Sciences

James Kasting
Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University

Host: Fred Rasio

Talk Title:
The Search for Life on Planets Around Other Stars

Talk Abstract:
Planets have now been found around several thousand stars. Some of these are thought to be rocky, and a handful of those lie within the habitable zone of their parent star, where liquid water is stable on the planet’s surface. About one year from now, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope should launch, and it may be able to do spectroscopy on transiting rocky planets around nearby M stars. Likely targets include several of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. The best opportunity to study Earth-like planets will come 15-20 years later, however, if NASA chooses to build one of its proposed direct imaging space telescopes, currently called LUVOIR and HabEx. These telescopes are competing with two other large space telescopes, Origins and Lynx, for endorsement by the ongoing Astronomy&Astrophysics Decadal Survey. With such a telescope, one could identify and characterize non-transiting planets around the very nearest stars. This could provide information not only about other Earth-like planets, but also about the existence, or non-existence, of extraterrestrial life.

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