- Broida 1640 and Zoom
- Peale Lecture
- Physics Department Colloquium
The Evolution of Planetary Habitability: Connecting Venus’ Past with Earth’s Future
Stephen Kane, UC Riverside
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; thus it provides a natural laboratory to study the evolution of habitability. In this talk I will describe the search for terrestrial planets orbiting other stars and how we may be able to characterize their atmospheres and surface environments. I will discuss the gaps in our knowledge regarding Venus within the context of how these gaps are impacting our ability to model exoplanet atmospheres and interiors. Finally, I will summarize the primary science questions that will be addressed by a return missions to Venus and how this will help us to answer the fundamental question: Will Earth become Venus?