Modeling planet Earth as an exoplanet

Project abstract

The search for life on planets beyond our solar system mainly focuses on the characterization of atmospheres. In this project, we study the impact of bioweathering on the long-term water and carbon cycles and implications on the observed exoplanet spectra. This will be achieved by merging surface and subduction zone processes with evolution models of the interior of planets. The goal is to gain insights into the habitability and a potential biosphere of planets beyond our solar system by investigating the atmospheric water and carbon dioxide budgets in conjunction with other exoplanet parameters.

Project team

The project will be executed within the groups of Wim van Westrenen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Carsten Dominik, Universiteit van Amsterdam. Principal investigator is Dennis Höning.

Complementary projects

The project ‘Modeling planet earth as an exoplanet’ will be complemented by a few relatively small projects, that together should supply information and context to the main project. For its first phase, the following projects have been selected. They will all be executed in 2018.

  • Inga Kamp (RUG), Christian Rab (VU), Carsten Dominik (UvA), Wim van Westrenen (VU) and Dennis Höning: Solids, ices and gas composition in the disk midplane – Input tables for planetary compositions,
  • Niels Ligterink (UL), Harold Linnartz (UL), Ewine van Dishoeck (UL) and Stéphanie Cazaux (TU Delft): Amide group containing molecules in space – From icy dust grains to planetary ices,
  • Annemieke Petrignani (UvA), Jan-Michel Désert (UvA), Daphne Stam (TU Delft), Wybren-Jan Buma (UvA), Carsten Dominik (UvA) and Stéphanie Cazaux (TU Delft): Biosignatures in planetary ionospheres,
  • Simon Portegies Zwart (UL), Holger Hoos (UL), Wojtek Kowalcyk (UL), Arjen van Elteren (UL) and Maxwell Cai (UL): Machine learning for accelerating planetary dynamics in star clusters,
  • Mónica Sánches-Román (VU), Rob van Spanning (VU), Serguei Matveev (UU): Microbial mats in playa lakes and other saline habitats as early Mars analogues,
  • Alona Vazan (UvA), Carsten Dominik (UvA) and Dennis Höning (VU): The role of thick atmospheres in habitability of exoplanets from thermal evolution.