What factors influence the composition of a planet’s interior, surface, and atmosphere, and what can we detect about these processes across interstellar distances? Many different physical, chemical, and geological processes combine to produce the observable characteristics of a planet’s environment. In the future, some of these characteristics will be visible through powerful NASA telescopes. In order to detect a planet’s distinct traits, however, researchers must better understand how these processes affect each other and change over time.
There are so many important components that make a planet unique, including global circulation dynamics, photochemistry, top-of-atmosphere escape processes, hydrological cycles, volcanism, outgassing, and climate. In order to define a planet’s environment and assess whether it could support life, researchers must develop a complete picture of how these processes interact and evolve over time. To better understand these processes and their observable consequences, SEEC researchers are using a variety of models, including global climate models, photochemical models, and atmospheric escape models.
Vladimir Airapetian, Giada Arney, Tony Del Genio, Shawn Domagal-Goldman, Thomas Fauchez, Alex Glocer, Scott Guzewich, Wade Henning, Nancy Kiang, Ravi Kopparapu, Weijia Kuang, Avi Mandell, Luke Oman, Alex Pavlov, Jeremy Schnittman, Linda Sohl, Kostas Tsigaridis, Michael Way
Key Questions Guiding SEEC Research
By studying ways that biospheres interact with planetary environments, SEEC researchers are pioneering methods to detect life on other worlds.
A vast multitude of physical, chemical, and geological processes combine to produce the characteristics of a specific exoplanet’s atmosphere and surface that will be visible to future telescopes.
Planetary habitability results from a complex network of interactions between the planet, its planetary system, and host star.
In our quest to find life outside of our solar system, we look for planets that resemble Earth, the only planet that we know of that is habitable.
Earth is our only example of a planet that is habitable and inhabited, and as such represents the archetypical habitable environment for remote sensing and mission development studies.