Press Release

NASA Invites Media to Live Webcast on Habitability of Early Solar System

By SpaceRef Editor
April 5, 2018
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Media are invited to tune into a livecast from astrobiology experts at the first Goddard international interdisciplinary conference on habitability in the early solar system.

The “Environments of Terrestrial Planets Under the Young Sun: Seeds of Biomolecules” will be held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, from April 9 through13, 2018.

To tune into the livecast, go to

Select the option to Enter as a Guest, type your name in the field, and click Enter Room.
Online participants are invited to use the chat room to post questions and comments, which will be displayed in the room onscreen.

The meeting will be hosted by the Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration, a multi-disciplinary effort to study the broad diversity of exoplanet atmospheres and climate, using the wide range of scientific and technical resources available at Goddard.

It is currently unknown if or when life may have begun on planets around other stars, or how long those planets could support the ingredients necessary for life. In fact, we have only a superficial notion of where to look for habitable planets. Understanding the evolution of planets in our own solar system, such as Earth and Venus, could provide important clues on how the environments of planets change over time and how that impacts their ability to support life. This symposium brings together experts across disciplines to better understand how planets like Earth, Venus and Mars have changed over time — from their atmospheric composition, geology, chemical composition and interactions with the Sun — to help understand what it takes to support life and whether it could exist beyond our solar system.

“Origin of life on Earth is one of the greatest puzzles of current science, and in order to understand how it started, we need to examine the evidence from the early Sun, Earth and Mars that is currently available,” said conference chair professor Vladimir Airapetian. “This international conference will be a big step in this direction.”

The keynote speaker will be NASA’s Planetary Science Division director, Jim Green. NASA Goddard’s director of the Sciences and Exploration Division, Colleen Hartman, will also deliver opening remarks.

Highlights from April 9:

* Discussions of global environments of our planet, including the life of the young Sun at a time when life started on Earth and its evolution in time. Professor Kazunari Shibata from Kyoto University, Japan, will introduce recent evidence of superflares on the young solar-type stars and the proxies of our young Sun, provided by NASA’s Kepler mission.

* Professor Manuel Guedel from University of Vienna, Austria, will discuss high-energy processes in young suns and their effects on exoplanets around them.

* Nat Gopalswamy from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will present the data about explosive life of our current Sun and discuss the most extreme cases of coronal mass ejections and associated acceleration of high-energy particles.

* Professor Vladimir Airapetian from Goddard and American University and Meng Jin from the SETI Institute will present three-dimensional computer simulations of the young Sun’s corona and wind based on observational data input. His collaborator Benjamin Lynch from University of California at Berkeley and Airapetian will present the first computer simulations of superflares and super-coronal mass ejections from the young Sun and their effects on early Earth.

Highlights from other days:

* On April 10, Alex Glocer from Goddard, Colin Johnstone from University of Vienna and Bob Strangewa from University of California at Los Angeles will discuss the effects of solar explosions on the atmospheres of the current and early Earth. In the follow-up breakout sessions, the participants will discuss atmospheric erosion and how it could have affected habitability of the early Earth and Mars.

* On April 11 and 12, Professor Shigenori Maruyama from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, Tony Del Genio and Michael Way from NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York City, Robin Wordsworth from Harvard University, Dimitar Sasselov from Harvard University and Vladimir Airapetian from Goddard and AU will discuss the climate of early Earth retrieved from the data and computer models and requirements for the origin of life on Earth.

* Jim Cleaves, the invited speaker from Earth Life Science Institute at Tokyo Institute of Technology, will discuss chemical environments of early Earth and its implications for the origin of life.

* Guillaume Gronoff from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will discuss how energetic particle events from the young Sun impacted the chemistry of the early Earth’s atmosphere and ignited conditions for prebiotic chemistry on early Earth and Mars.

* Professor Nicholas Hud from Georgia Institute of Technology, Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy and Jeffrey Bada from Scripps Research Institute, Robert Pascal from University of Montpellier, France, and Kensei Kobayashi from Yokohama National University, Japan will discuss environmental requirements for the rise of prebiotic chemistry on the early Earth.

Details on the Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration:

SpaceRef staff editor.