Fate of Planetary Habitability highlighted at the AGU Fall Meeting

Together with Cynthia Phillips, one of my SETI Institute colleagues, I will convene a session at the AGU Fall meeting tomorrow afternoon (oral) and Friday December 13 (poster) entitled “Rapid Environmental Change and the Fate of Planetary Habitability“.

This session will be an opportunity to see recent works on the adaptability of life in abrupt climate crises. Recent discoveries inspire us to re-examine our understanding of how rapidly planetary habitats can be redistributed. Past habitable environments on Mars from the Curiosity rover, possible subsurface lakes on Europa, and potentially habitable exoplanets from the Kepler spacecraft continue to expand our definition of the habitable zone.

slide_frontThe submitted abstracts intertwined aspects of changing habitability, including the complex interactions among astronomical, geological, and climatic forces, on the Earth and beyond.

The holes get filled in

A piece of Mars: Sand that moves into holes in the ground tends to get stuck there. That’s why this round hole ~150 m across, which was probably once a crater, is now brimming with sand and capped by ripples. (HiRISE ESP_033717_1990, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)