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  • Exoplanet Habitability and Biosignature Detection


    Seminar Title  

    Exoplanet Habitability and Biosignature Detection 

    Speaker:   ProfTian Feng



    When Wednesday morning , Apr. 11, 10:00 a.m


    Room 212, Astronomy Building. (NJU)

                             Welcome to Attend   

      ( PMO Academic Committee & Academic Circulating committee)

       Abstract: 20 years after the discovery of the first exoplanet, scientists on the Earth are at the gate of a new era -- observing planets similar to their own planet in the solar system around other stars, low mass stars in particular. This effort could potentially answer the long standing and arguably the most important scientific and philosophical question to human beings: Dr. Feng Tian obtained his PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005. He is currently a professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Tsinghua University, Beijing China. His research interests include planetary atmospheres, planet evolution, and planet habitability. He is a member of the editorial board of Astrobiology, a reviewer for more than 20 journals including Science and Nature, an organizing committee member of IAU C.F2 (Exoplanets and Solar System). His recent publication regarding planet habitability can be found at: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v8/n3/full/ngeo2372.html

    Are we alone in the Universe? 

           Exciting developments in the past one year include the discovery of an Earth-size planet orbiting around the nearest star, Proxima, and that of several Earth-size planets in the liquid water habitable zone (HZ) of a cool dwarf, Trappist-1. In 2017 NASA will launch the TESS telescope which aims at discovering all Earth-size planets in the HZ of bright M dwarfs within the solar neighborhood. It can be expected that many more so called potentially habitable planets (PHZ) will follow. 

          With this rapid pace of discoveries of PHZ, it will be useful to systematically exam the requirements for a planet to be named 'habitable'. And it will be healthy for the scientific community to examine the habitability of planets from an evolution point of view and to discuss how to discover signals of life on exoplanets. In this talk the most recent developments on planetary habitability and exoplanet missions selected by international space agencies will be discussed. We conclude that a Golden Age of Exoplanet Characterization will arrive soon. What role might China play in this new age will also be discussed.  


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