2010 Annual Science Report
Pennsylvania State University Reporting | SEP 2009 – AUG 2010
Biosignatures in Extraterrestrial Settings
The team will investigate the abundance of sulfur gases and elucidate how these gases can be expected to evolve with time on young terrestrial planets. They will continue studies of planet formation in the presence of migration and model radial transport of volatiles in young planetary systems, and will be involved with searches for M star planetary companions and planets around K-giant stars.
4.1.1 Research by Kasting and collaborators shows SO2 is likely to be inadequate to explain early warm Mars. Collaboration with VPL and graduate student Haqq-Misra.
4.1.2 Continued research by Ohmoto and collaborators of early CH4 in the atmosphere of terrestrial planets and role of volcanoes in CO2 outgassing.
4.2 Progress by Lyons and collaborators continued of 17O/18O fractionation due to CO2 self-shielding during photolysis. Work underway on N2 and role of H2.
4.3 Sigurdsson and collaborators in the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds continued research on extrasolar planets: graduate student Yan Wang completed MSc project on habitability of planets during the course of stellar evolution; graduate student Rachel Worth commenced project on radial transport in the solar system in collaboration with Sigurdsson and House. Pathfinder near infrared spectrograph operated at HET telescope, U-Ne calibration for near IR and implementation of NIST supplied lasercomb operated and cross-calibrated. Three new graduate students supported in the summer of 2010, starting research on instrumentation, data reduction pipelines for radial velocity searches for planets, and modeling of formation and dynamics of planets.
PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:James Kasting
Project InvestigatorJames Lyons
Project InvestigatorHiroshi Ohmoto
Project InvestigatorSteinn Sigurdsson
PROJECT MEMBERS:Mark Claire
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 1.1
Formation and evolution of habitable planets.
Indirect and direct astronomical observations of extrasolar habitable planets.
Outer Solar System exploration
Earth's early biosphere.
Effects of extraterrestrial events upon the biosphere
Adaptation and evolution of life beyond Earth
Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials