Avi Mandell (co-Chair, NASA GSFC), Eliza Kempton (co-Chair, UMD), Vincent Bourrier (UNIGE), Tony Del Genio (NASA GISS), Courtney Dressing (UC Berkeley), Michaël Gillon (Liège), Nikole Lewis (Cornell), Eric Lopez (NASA GSFC), Michael Meyer (Michigan), Leslie Rogers (Chicago), Laura Schaefer (Stanford), David Sing (JHU)
We have firmly entered the era of exoplanet characterization. Observations examining the composition and thermal structure of the terminator and day-side regions of the atmospheres of tidally locked warm gas-rich planets is now routine with the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, and thermal imaging of young warm Jupiter-mass planets from ground-based telescopes is providing compositional constraints as well. However, the characterization of the environments of rocky exoplanets has only barely begun – apart from some intriguing initial measurements of the brightest hot super-Earth 55 Cnc e, we only have masses and radii for small planets, and attempts at atmospheric characterization have produced only featureless or ambiguous spectra.
With its large primary mirror and complement of IR instrumentation, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is poised to dramatically expand our view of the environments of rocky exoplanets. JWST will be further aided by the discovery of a new crop of small planets orbiting nearby low-mass stars and brown dwarfs from the TESS mission and ground-based surveys, enabling higher precision measurements over a wider population of potentially rocky worlds. With these exciting opportunities on the horizon, now is the time to improve our understanding of what information can be gleaned about rocky worlds from these future measurements, based on our understanding of the observations themselves as well as detailed modeling of the planetary environments that will be examined.
Key areas of work/discussion include: