Earth Sciences

Kepler 138b - A Mars size planet in a Tug of War

SETI Institute Research Scientist Jason Rowe gives us an overview of the Kepler 138 system, the Kepler Mission in general, transit-timing-variations, in particular the gravitational tug-of-war, and mass-radius relationships.

Extreme Environments: Hydrothermal settings for early life on Earth or Mars

It is well known that New Zealand hosts spectacular hot-springs associated with a live super-volcano. Less well known is that these geothermal systems are rapidly mineralizing, entombing within silica a biota adapted to high temperatures, and thus serving as an extreme environment analog in the continuing search for the earliest signs of life on Earth and potentially other planets, such as Mars.

The Anthropocene Epoch in Cosmic Evolution

Informed by comparative planetology and a survey of the major episodes in Earth history, Dr. Grinspoon will offer a taxonomy of planetary catastrophes meant to illuminate the unusual nature of the “Anthropocene”, the current epoch of human-driven planetary-scale changes, and reframe our current environmental and technological predicaments as part of a larger narrative of planetary evolution. This saga has now reached the pivotal moment when humans have become a dominant force of planetary change, and geological and human history are becoming irreversibly conjoined.

Summary of Workshop on Interspecies Communication

In this event, a group of interdisciplinary scientists will participate in a SETI colloquium to summarize and discuss a two-way workshop held to explore nonhuman communication research. Participants for this two-day workshop include scientists who currently work in one of three areas: animal communication, information theory, or astrobiology/intelligence.

Life's Struggle to Survive

john baezWhen pondering the number of extraterrestrial civilizations, it is worth noting that even after it got started, the success of life on Earth was not a foregone conclusion.  We recount some thrilling episodes from the history of our planet, some well-documented but others merely theorized: our collision with the planet Theia, the oxygen catastrophe, the snowball Earth events, the Permian-Triassic mass ex

Do cyanobacteria use iron for photosynthesis?

yellow stone chocolate potsDr. Parenteau will speak about her research into the early evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis in the context of Archean ferruginous oceans, and how this might relate to ancient banded iron formations. Banded Iron Formations (BIFs) are widespread Precambrian sedimentary deposits that accumulated in deep ocean basins with inputs of reduced iron (Fe(II)) and silica from deep ocean hydrothermal vents.

Why the World Will Still Be Here After December 21st.

David Morrison, Ed Krupp and Andrew Fraknoi will discuss the topic of the end of the Mayan Calender in 2012 and how this has been treated by the media. The negative effect on the public of this millennial meme will also be explored, as well as ways of promoting a successful scientific message on the topic in the YouTube era.

The Geology of the Terrestrial Planets: Perspectives on the Earth

The dynamic nature of the Earth (erosion and plate tectonics) has largely destroyed the record of the formative years of our own Home Planet.  Revealed on the other Earth-like planetary bodies (Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus) are startling and diverse landscapes recording the geological record of this early history, the very chapters that are missing from Earth. Results from the first half-century of solar system exploration have unveiled a vision of our formative years, where we have been, and indeed, where we may be going in the future.


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