RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Friday, 24 November 2017, 14:00-14:20; Duffield Lecture Theatre

Sarah McIntyre

"A many-parameter approach to exoplanet habitability"

Recent research has shown that a planet’s ability to maintain liquid water and potentially host life depends on the type of star, the planet’s density, atmospheric composition and planet-star interactions. Additionally, there are a variety of previously undefined factors such as magnetic field, albedo, tidal locking, impact events, and plate tectonics that could also affect habitability. This thesis proposes to investigate the effect these diverse parameters have on an exoplanet’s ability to sustain liquid water. I will analyse the interrelatedness of these factors and combine them into a code to estimate the degree of habitability of exoplanets in a variety of situations. In conjunction with the rapidly increasing information from exoplanet databases expected within the next 2 years, this research will help determine optimal targets for near-future ground- and space-based observations of planetary atmospheres and the potential detection of life in space.