AGU Fall Meeting 2012 – Planetary Evolution and the Fate of Planetary Habitability

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Tomorrow is the first day of the AGU Fall Meeting, in San Francisco, CA. I love this conference, not only because it is 30 min door-to-door from my house, but also because it is BIG… Last year there were ~27,000 registered geoscientists, and there is no reason there should be less of them this year. With more than 29 parallel sessions in diverse  topics such as Atmospheric Sciences, Hydrology, Natural Hazards, Biosphere, Volcanology, Cryosphere, Education and of course Planetary Sciences, plus several social events, and press conferences, it will be a feast for scientists, science reporters and the public.

Several press conferences and scientific talks will be live streamed and recorded. The complex program and a planning scheduler can be found here as well.

I am sure that most of you have already heard about the Curiosity press conference scheduled on Monday at 9am, but several other planetary sciences press conferences (schedule) are scheduled on topics like climate change, status on the NASA Voyager spacecraft,  and Grail Lunar Twins.

In my case, I will have a very busy week since this year I have co-organized two sessions that I will also co-chair and I will also give a talk in one of them.

Understanding planetary habitability is partly an extrapolation of the Earth's conditions, as this is the only planet currently known to support life (source Wikipedia)

On Monday December 3 2012, the session of Planetary Evolution and the Fate of Planetary Habitability will be convened by Nathalie Cabrol (SETI Institute), Tilman Spohn (DLR), Frances Westall (CNRS) and myself. This session is the result of the merging of two proposed sessions, so for completeness I should also include Cynthia Phillips (SETI Institute), Norman Sleep (U. of Stanford) & Lena Noack (DLR) as contributors. You may have noticed that there are three researchers of the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute in this list of organizers, so as expected this session is about astrobiology, and specifically the evolution of lives on other planets.

Our goal is to discuss the evolution of planets in our solar system and rapid environmental change that can be used as a scientific bridge, relating astrobiology to Earth, planetary, and space sciences in the study of how life may adapt through abrupt climate crises. We were motivated by recent discoveries that have been inspiring the astrobiology community to re-examine its understanding of how rapidly planetary habitats can be redistributed and how variable habitable zones around stars can be. Because the topic is quite broad abstracts on the intertwined aspects of changing habitability, including the complex interactions between astronomical, geological, and climatic forces, on the Earth and beyond, have been submitted

For the poster session in the morning (9am-12:20am), we will conduct a small tour of the 34 posters  including 2 min presentation by the authors and 2 min discussion. The program of the poster session is very diverse since it includes discussion on the past of Mars and Earth, formation of terrestrial planets,  search for bio-signatures on Mars and on exoplanets, climate changes on Earth and Titan.

P11B-1802. Self-consistent dynamical and thermodynamical evolutions of protoplanetary disks.
Kévin Baillié; Sebastien Charnoz; Esther Taillifet; Laurent Piau

P11B-1803. The tidal response of super-Earths and large icy worlds 
Gabriel Tobie; Olivier GRASSET; Marie Behounkova; Jonathan Besserer; Ondrej Cadek; Gael Choblet; Antoine Mocquet

P11B-1805. DO ALL ROCKY PLANETS UNDERGO EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF LARGE VOLCANIC OUTFLOW CHANNELS?
David W. Leverington

P11B-1806. THERMAL AND MECHANICAL EROSION BY LOW-VISCOSITY LAVA FLOWS AT HRAD VALLIS, MARS
Josh Hopper; David W. Leverington

P11B-1807. Power Spectrum Analysis of Martian Patterned Ground in the Northern Hemisphere
Travis C. Orloff; Mikhail A. Kreslavsky; Erik I. Asphaug

P11B-1809. Heterogeneous Ice Processes Important for Odd Hydrogen and Ozone on Mars
Oleg Kostko; Jochen Marschall; Konstantinos Kalogerakis

P11B-1810. Synoptic snowfall as a possible source of water for late alluvial fan activity in southern Margaritifer Terra, Mars
John A. Grant; Sharon A. Wilson

P11B-1813. Chiral changes of simple amino acids in early Earth’s ocean by meteorite impacts: Experimental simulations
Atsushi Takase; Toshimori Sekine; Yoshihiro Furukawa; Takeshi Kakegawa

P11B-1815. Hydrological sulfur cycling in the volcanic complex of Valles Caldera – geochemical and astrobiological implications for Mars
Anna Szynkiewicz; David M. Borrok; David T. Vaniman; Fraser Goff

P11B-1816. The Distribution of Radiogenic Elements in Stars with and without Planetary Systems: Implications for Dynamics and Habitability
Cayman T. Unterborn; Jennifer A. Johnson; Wendy R. Panero

P11B-1817. Equatorial Periglacial Terrains, Lacustrine Environments, and Fluvial Networks at the Hesperian-Amazonian Age Boundary on Mars
Nicholas Warner; Sanjeev Gupta; Matthew P. Golombek; Peter M. Grindrod; Catie Broznak

P11B-1818. Intercomparison of Carbonate Deposits on Mars: VNIR Spectral Character and Geologic Context
Sandra Wiseman; John F. Mustard; Bethany L. Ehlmann

P11B-1819. Search for organic molecules on Mars with the Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer of the Sample Analysis at Mars experiment onboard the MSL 2011 Curiosity rover
Cyril Szopa; Pascaline Francois; Patrice J. Coll; Michel Cabane; David Coscia; Samuel Teinturier; Fabien Stalport; Arnaud Buch; Paul R. Mahaffy; Daniel P. Glavin; Caroline Freissinet; Jennifer L. Eigenbrode

P11B-1820. TEXTURAL AND MINERALOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MICROBIAL FOSSILS IN MODERN AND ANCIENT IRON (OXYHYDR)OXIDES
Sally L. Potter; Marjorie A. Chan; Brian J. McPherson

P11B-1821. An In-Situ Rb-Sr Dating & Organics Characterization Instrument For A MER+ Sized Rover
F. Scott Anderson; Tom Whitaker; Keith Nowicki; Kris Zacny; Jeffrey Pierce

P11B-1822. Mantle evolution on Mars: Constraints from Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd isotope systematics of SNC meteorites
Erik E. Scherer; Erika Kurahashi; Klaus Mezger

P11B-1823. Investigating the Role of Earth’s Quasi-Satellite Resonance in the Accretion of Interplanetary Dust
Steve Kortenkamp

P11B-1824. Polar wandering history of Mars: triggered by giant impact and mantle super-plume?
Long Xiao; Qian Huang; Dehui Wang

P11B-1825. Rise of oxygen induced by Paleoproterozoic snowball glaciation: Insights from biogeochemical cycle modeling
Mariko Harada; Eiichi Tajika; Yasuhito Sekine; Kazumi Ozaki

P11B-1826. Understanding Snowball Earth Deglaciation
Dorian S. Abbot

P11B-1827. Impact Chemistry and the Origin of Life
H J. Melosh; Matthew Pasek

P11B-1828. Using THEMIS to resolve the discrepancy between modeled phyllosilicate abundances and to assess the origin of phyllosilicate-bearing materials in Mawrth Vallis
Christina E. Viviano; Jeffrey E. Moersch

P11B-1829. Venus: A World of Water and Life 
John F. Ditkof

P11B-1830. Episode(s) of intense alluvial deposition during an era of drought on Mars: Evidence from fans at Saheki (and Gale?)
Alexander M. Morgan; Alan D. Howard; Jeffrey M. Moore; Ross A. Beyer

P11B-1831. Hematite Bearing Ridge as Evidence for Anoxic Water Discharge in Gale Crater
Abigail A. Fraeman; Raymond E. Arvidson; Jeffrey G. Catalano; Richard V. Morris; Scott L. Murchie; Frank P. Seelos; Kimberly D. Seelos; Andy McGovern; Christina E. Viviano

P11B-1832. A Survey of Sinuous Ridges and Inferred Fluvial Discharge Rates in Northwest Hellas, Mars
Ryan B. Anderson; Kenneth E. Herkenhoff

P11B-1833. Impact-induced Climate Change on Titan
Kevin J. Zahnle; Donald Korycansky

P11B-1835. Rapid Climate Change and Implications for Habitability on Mars
Rossman P. Irwin

P11B-1836. Stress-driven speciation in novel strains of Bacillus isolated from a microbial community in the Mojave Desert, a Mars-analog
Judy Wan; Matthew Lera; Oana Marcu

P11B-1837. Linking Present Environmental Change on Earth to Rapid Climate Change on Mars at the Noachian/Hesperian Boundary: Implications for Habitability
Abigail Nastan; Nathalie A. Cabrol; Cynthia B. Phillips

P11B-1838. Temporal Contrast Changes in Dark Slope Streaks on Mars
Heather Chilton; Cynthia B. Phillips; Lori K. Fenton; Adrian J. Brown

P11B-1839. Planetary Analog Research and Climate Change Monitoring in a Land of Extremes: The Ubehebe Volcanic Field (Death Valley, CA).
Rosalba Bonaccorsi; Richard Friese; Chris McKay; David Willson

The Oral session is scheduled in two sessions on Monday afternoon from 2-40pm to 3:40pm and 4:0pm to 6:00pm (Moscone West, room 2007). We gathered 12 talks of 15 min each to discuss recent results and ideas to transform a planet and create habitable habitats including processes like volcanic degassing. This session will give us an opportunity to discuss the notion of habitability around stars, in the past of Earth, the search for organics on Mars, and a discussion on a rapidly changing Earth.

2:40 PM – 2:55 PM  P13E-01. Terrestrial Planet Evolution in the Stagnant-Lid Regime: Size Effects and the Formation of Self-Destabilizing Crust
Joseph G. O’Rourke; Jun Korenaga

2:55 PM – 3:10 PM P13E-02. Volcanic Degassing and the Atmosphere of Planetary Suites 
Fabrice Gaillard; Bruno Scaillet

3:10 PM – 3:25 PM P13E-03. Preferred orientation of Ridges in Phyllosilicate Terrains, Mars: Implications for Crustal Habitability
John F. Mustard; Lee Saper

3:25 PM – 3:40 PM P13E-04. Simulations of bacterial growth in the shallow subsurface on planets with tenuous atmospheres.
Alexander Pavlov; Alisa Bochnowski; Rachel Kronyak

4:00 PM – 4:15 PM P14A-01. Exoplanets in the Habitable Zone (Invited)
William J. Borucki; Lisa Kaltenegger; Laurance Doyle 

4:15 PM – 4:30 PM P14A-02. Assessing The Anthropocene In The Context Of Comparative Planetology. (Invited)
David H. Grinspoon

4:30 PM – 4:45 PM P14A-03. Present-Day Surface Changes on Mars: Implications for Recent Climate Variability and Habitability (Invited)
Alfred S. McEwen; Colin M. Dundas; Serina Diniega; Shane Byrne; Nathan T. Bridges; Candice J. Hansen

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM P14A-04. The Transition from Phyllosilicate to Hydrated Sulfate Deposition as Evidenced from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CRISM and Opportunity Rover Observations in Meridiani Planum
Raymond E. Arvidson; Jeffrey G. Catalano

5:00 PM – 5:15 PM P14A-05. Deglaciation and the Evolution of Planetary Lake Habitability
Nathalie A. Cabrol; Edmond A. Grin; Christopher Haberle; Jeffrey E. Moersch; Robert E. Jacobsen; Ruben Sommaruga; Erich Fleming; Angela M. Detweiler; Alex Echeverria; Victor Parro; Yolanda Blanco; Luis Rivas; Cecilia Demergasso; Leslie Bebout; Guillermo Chong; Kevin Rose; Trey Smith; Liam Pedersen; Susan Lee; Terry Fong; David Wettergreen; Cristian Tambley

5:15 PM – 5:30 PM P14A-06. Planetary Habitability and Rapid Environmental Change: The Biological Perspective
Dirk Schulze-Makuch; Alberto Fairen; Louis Irwin

5:30 PM – 5:45 PM P14A-07. Two-way feedback between biology and deep Earth processes (Invited)
Norman H. Sleep; Emily Pope; Dennis K. Bird

5:45 PM – 6:00 PM P14A-08. A Model of Continental Growth and Mantle Degassing Comparing Biotic and Abiotic Worlds
Dennis Höning; Hendrik Hansen-Goos; Tilman Spohn

Hopefully a great and informative session for all of us. Unfortunately it will not be recorded and since I will be one of the chairs, don’t expect me to tweet it live as usual, but I will definitely try to summarize this session in one post.

You will also find on this blog tomorrow a similar announcement for the Wednesday session on “Internal Structure and Composition of Asteroids” that I will co-chair with Julie Castillo from JPL.

So yes, it is going to be a crazy, but amazing, week as usual during the Fall AGU meeting.

Clear skies,

Franck Marchis

About Franck Marchis

Dr. Franck Marchis is a Researcher at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute since July 2007. Over the past 15 years, he has dedicated his research to the study of our solar system using mainly ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. More recently he has been also involved in the definition of new generation of AOs for 8 -10 m class telescopes and future Extremely Large Telescopes. He has developed algorithms to process and enhance the quality of images, both astronomical and biological, using fluorescence microscopy. His currently involved in the development of the Gemini Planet Imager, an extreme AO system for the Gemini South telescope which will be capable of imaging and record spectra of exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars.

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