Archivi tag: astrobiology

Advancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array

In 2014 it will be 10 years since the publication of the comprehensive ‘Science with the Square Kilometre Array’ book and 15 years since the first such volume appeared in 1999. In that time numerous and unexpected advances have been made in the fields of astronomy and physics relevant to the capabilities of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA itself has also progressed from an idea to a developing reality with a baselined Phase 1 design (request-for-proposals) and construction planned from 2017.  Continua a leggere Advancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array

Biosignatures across space and time

Two big questions are at the centre of research regarding the emergence of life on Earth and the possibility of life in the universe: (a) is there life on other celestial bodies? and (b) when did life first appear on Earth ? To throw light on these questions, reliable methods for the detection of life using unambiguous biosignatures are essential. In this respect huge progress has been made during the last years. For example, new space missions like ECHO are planned to characterise atmospheres of exoplanets and sophisticated methods for detecting life in ancient geological formations have been developed. This meeting will to bring together astronomers, geologists, biologists and other interested scientists to share interdisciplinary approaches to detect signs of life on early Earth and other celestial bodies (including exoplanets) and to elucidate the environmental limits and origins of life.

Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space

Within a matter of years, humanity will know for the first time the frequency of terrestrial planets in orbit around other stars. This knowledge will pave the way for joining research from astronomy, Earth science, and biology to understand the past, present, and future of the Earth within its larger context as one of many habitable worlds throughout the Galaxy. Such work seeks to understand the formation and fate of the Earth as well as predict where and when different bodies will be suitable for both simple and complex forms of life.

In this four day symposium, scientists from diverse fields will discuss the formation and long-term evolution of terrestrial bodies throughout the various phases of stellar and Galactic evolution. A particular focus will be in how the specific conditions and challenges for habitability on Earth extend to other bodies in the Solar System and beyond. This symposium will include discussion about sites for Galactic habitability that have not yet been given much attention. The existence of these overlooked environments may provide motivation for novel astronomical observations with existing and next generation ground and space-based observatories.

Invited speakers will cover the following topics:

  • Terrestrial planet formation, volatile delivery, and the formation of moons
  • Early Earth geochemistry, atmosphere, and the origins of life
  • The frequency of terrestrial planets across stellar mass
  • The limits to Earth-like life
  • Habitability of planets and moons during all phases of stellar evolution
  • Habitability in low-luminosity environments