"Characterizing 'Pale Blue Dots' in the Sky: Spectral Fingerprints of Habitability"
Lisa Kaltenegger, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
"After a decade rich in giant exoplanet detections, the
detection and characterization of Earth-like planet is
approaching rapidly with dedicated space observatories
already in operation (Corot) or in development phase.
How can we detect and characterize them? Can they be
habitable? In my talk I will focus on the fascinating
new results and models for Earth to super Earths as well
as how we can read a planet’s spectral fingerprint and
characterize if it is potentially habitable."
"Jumping Jack Flash, It's a Gas: Biological Methanogenesis on a Planet Near You"
David E. Graham, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
"As large amounts of methane have been discovered on Mars, Titan,
Pluto, and "HD 189733b", news reports have touted the relationship
between methane and primitive life on Earth. This seminar will
explore the origins of methane on Earth - both biological and
geological. The chemical signatures of earthly methane sources
will be discussed as markers for determining the origin of the
gas on other planets. My research group's studies on the biochemical
evolution of methanogenesis show that this contemporary process
is neither ancient nor primitive. We will consider the implications
of this complexity on the biochemical origins of life on Earth and