Natural Sciences
Life Sciences
Scientific Computing
Natural Sciences

Prof. Dr. Lena Noack, Institute of Geological Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin

Haus der Astronomie, Auditorium, Königstuhl 17

Heidelberg Initiative for the Origins of Life (HIFOL)

Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered in the past decade, revolutionizing our way of scientific thinking both in the direction of formation and evolution of planets, as well as in the direction of exotic places where life may evolve and flourish in non-Earth-like environments. Our ultimate goal is to discover a second Earth. However, even if a planet is discovered with a density hinting at a rocky planet, it may be quite non-Earth-like for example in terms of composition, mineralogy, core formation, volatile content, etc. It is therefore necessary to study how the evolution of a planet may be affected by the unkown planet's properties as well as its formation and evolution history, and to understand better possible restrictions for surface or subsurface habitability. A dense-enough atmosphere would be needed to preserve surface water for planets at the outer edge of the habitable zone. Thermal evolution models using a 2D convection code show that the surface regime (stagnant-lid or plate tectonics), the interior composition and structure (especially in terms of iron content) as well as the planet's size strongly influence the outgassing potential and build-up of a secondary atmosphere, whereas the exact composition of the rocky mantle seems to have only secondary effects.

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