Ghosts of atmospheres past: modeling atmospheric formation and evolution on rocky planets

Apr 18, 2019 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Campus, PAB 102/103

Laura Schaefer (Stanford Earth)

One of the goals of near-term exoplanet observations is to identify habitable rocky planets and characterize their atmospheres. Solar System studies have taught us that the chemistry of the protoplanetary disk from which they formed, the physics and chemistry of the accretion process, and subsequent loss and exchange between the atmosphere and solid planet will all affect the present-day, measurable atmospheric compositions of rocky exoplanets. Understanding the initial compositions and the processes that have subsequently shaped them is essential to help predict and understand the atmospheres and surface environments of the new types of rocky planets being discovered. Many of these planets also experience conditions such as magma oceans not found on Solar System planets since their accretion. Through iterations of modeling and observing these new rocky planets, we may learn more about the conditions of atmospheric formation and evolution within the Solar System as well. I will discuss past modeling efforts aimed at a few of the processes related to atmosphere formation and evolution and the next steps in making progress on understanding the early atmospheres of rocky (exo)planets.