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Environments of Terrestrial Planets Under the Young Sun: Seeds of Biomolecules

The Environments of Terrestrial Planets Under the Young Sun: Seeds of Biomolecules Symposium will be held on April 9-13, 2017, hosted by the Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA. This symposium is a major international interdisciplinary conference in the emerging area of astrobiology covering astrophysical, physico-chemical, atmospheric and geological aspects of environments of early terrestrial planets with a focus on the impacts of the young Sun’s space weather on the precursors of life.

It is currently unknown if or when life may have begun on planets around other stars, or how long those planets could remain viable for life. In fact, we have only a superficial notion of where to look for habitable planets. The principal cause of this is a lack of understanding of the detailed conditions required for initiation of life and promoting life over geological timescales, dynamical evolution of planetary systems, and atmospheric evolution on planets in other systems. Thus, understanding the conditions compatible with the presence of organic polymer-like nucleic acids and polypeptides in the primitive Solar System and factors promoting prebiotic chemistry over 4 billion years ago may shed light on habitability in other planetary systems in our galaxy.

The impact of external factors on prebiotic chemistry including UV and particle fluxes from the young Sun (and other active stars) along with the physio-chemical evolution of planetary atmospheres under the influence of their volcanic and tectonic activity will sharpen our definition of habitability on early terrestrial and terrestrial-type exoplanets. It will also help to specify environmental constraints for prebiotic atmospheric chemistry experiments that will better specify the most plausible pathways to the origin of life. This is only possible by forming a key linkage between astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary scientists, Earth science and the prebiotic chemistry/origin of life community.

The central objective of the Symposium is to unify and coordinate these efforts to understand, and characterize heliophysical, magnetospheric, ionospheric, climate and their interaction with geological environments on the early Earth, Mars and Venus and their impacts on the initiation of prebiotic chemistry.

This website is being run by Knowinnovation Inc. and is supported by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). LPI is operated by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) under a cooperative agreement with NASA. The purpose of this site is to facilitate communication from and between scientists that are part of the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science (NExSS). Although NExSS is led by researchers whose funding comes from NASA, NExSS is a community endeavor. As such, any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.