Speaking at a symposium titled "The Origin and Evolution of Planets" held at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, two Carnegie Institution scientists will present their perspectives on the new era of planetary exploration.
Alan Boss of Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and author of the new book The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets points out that evidence for all three classes of planets known in our Solar System—ice giants, gas giants, and terrestrial (rocky) planets—has been detected in extra-solar systems. "We already know enough now to say that the Universe is probably loaded with terrestrial planets similar to the Earth," he says. "We should expect that there are going to be many planets which are habitable, so probably some are going to be inhabited as well."
Boss expects that NASA's Kepler spacecraft, due to launch in early March and dedicated to searching for Earthlike planets, will put his ideas to the test.
Russell Hemley, director of Carnegie's Geophysical Laboratory, studies the fundamental physics and chemistry of materials under extreme conditions. Understanding how the chemical building blocks of planets, such as hydrogen, oxygen, silicon, iron, and other crucial elements such as carbon, respond to conditions in the deep interior of planets, where pressures can exceed those on the surface by factors of millions, is key to understanding how planets might form and evolve.
High-pressure studies can also offer clues to the search for life on planets different from our own. "Our work is uncovering not only exciting new physics and chemistry, but also new findings in biology that are relevant to the prospects for life in whatever form beyond the Earth," says Hemley. "Experiments are showing that there is viability of life as we know it now under surprisingly extreme conditions."
Alan Boss | EurekAlert!
Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems
08.12.2016 | Nagoya Institute of Technology
Will Earth still exist 5 billion years from now?
08.12.2016 | KU Leuven
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences