Northwestern Events Calendar


CIERA Interdisciplinary Colloquium: Edwin Kite, "Climate of Mars, past and future"

When: Tuesday, February 21, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Technological Institute, F160, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

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

Contact: CIERA Astrophysics   (847) 491-8646

Group: CIERA - Interdisciplinary Colloquia

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Edwin Kite

Associate Professor, University of Chicago.
Participating Scientist, Mars Rover Curiosity.

Edwin Kite is a planetary scientist who studies the evolution of rocky planets. Rocky planets retain traces of the evolution of their fluid envelopes over the long timescales that Earth’s fossil record teaches us are necessary for the evolution of complex life. With emphasis on Mars and rocky exoplanets, Kite and students and postdocs working with him use models and geologic data analysis to address questions including: How does early Mars geology record past climate and how can we read that record?, What are the controls on planetary atmosphere-interior exchange?, and How do planets stay habitable? 

Prof. Kite has led papers published in Nature Geoscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Advances, Geophysical Research Letters, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, and Astrophysical Journal Letters. In 2009, he shared the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the most outstanding paper published that year in Science. In 2016, Kite was the recipient of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science. In 2022, Kite was selected as a Participating Scientist on the Mars Curiosity rover. Kite is currently a member of the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), and a Scialog Fellow.

Climate of Mars, past and future

Are the processes that generate planetary habitability common or rare? What allowed rivers and lakes on Early Mars, which received just 1/3 of the modern Earth’s insolation? And why did Mars’ surface become uninhabitable? To answer these questions, Mars exploration is vital. I will discuss new results that support the hypothesis that the greenhouse effect of high-altitude water ice clouds can explain the warm climates. While lake-forming climates on Mars occurred over a time span of >1 Gyr, now Mars’s surface is too cold and dry for life. I will discuss ways in which Martian surface habitability could be re-enabled.

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