Exoplanets And The Definition Of Habitability

Science Topic: Planetary Climate
5th Shaw-IAU Workshop
Thursday Nov. 30, 2023
UTC: 6:55 p.m. - 7:05 p.m.
Friday Dec. 1, 2023
UTC: 10:25 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.

With 5500 exoplanets known, hundreds are Earth-like and potentially habitable, projecting to ten billion across the Milky Way galaxy. Earth’s habitability can be re-interpreted in the light of the extraordinary diversity of exoplanets. All planet atmospheres evolve, and habitability does not mean that biology can or will arise. Life on Earth has nearly been extinguished several times and many exoplanets are likely to be more hospitable to biology. This includes terrestrial planets with many times Earth’s inventory of water, super-Earths, and nomad or orphan planets drifting through interstellar space with no star. Upcoming observations are discussed that will begin to characterize the habitability of exoplanets in detail.

About Chris Impey

Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has over 450 publications on education and observational cosmology, and his research has been supported by $20 million in NASA and NSF grants. He has won eleven teaching awards and has taught four online classes with 400,000 enrolled and 6 million minutes of video lectures watched. Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society and has won its career Education Prize. He has also been NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. He has written 120 popular articles about cosmology, astrobiology, and education, two textbooks, a novel called Shadow World, and nine popular science books.