Cross section of the planet

Speaker: Wendy Panero (HMC ’97), The Ohio State University

Title: “Radioactive and Diamond Planets: Using the Earth to Explore New Worlds”

Please join us: Thursday, March 6th @ 11AM in Edmunds 130

Abstract : As we discover that terrestrial planets might be ubiquitous in the galaxy, we are closer to answering the question, “Are we alone?” In this seminar, I cover the variables that affect whether or not other Earth-like planets exist. I will show how the Habitable Zone is much more than distance to the star, but also a planetary “Compositional Habitable Zone.” The Sun is depleted in rock-building elements relative to comparable stars in the galaxy, many of which host terrestrial planets. What are the implications of a planet with more heat producing elements? What are the implications when a planet is formed from mostly carbon or has no central cores?

A closer look at potential oddball planets not only tells us about the variety of planets that might be out there, but they can also help us guide our thinking on why Earth has plate tectonics, and whether or not our oceans are inevitable or happy accidents of circumstance.