Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What I learnt from CCTP2

At the beginning of September I attended the Comparative Climates for Terrestrial Planets II conference at NASA AMES Research Center. 

The conference aimed to foster a series of interdisciplinary conversations on a wide range of planetary climates. this years theme was "Understanding How Climate Systems Work." As an exoplanet researcher I was the outsider attending  a rocky planet conference but I learnt a lot and was hopefully also able to put the current observation capabilities of exoplanets into context.

But as I have done with previous conferences I attend I thought I would share some of the "Things I learnt from CCTP2" with you now.

Old zeppelin hangers are really really big, even without the skin on them.
 - The habitable zone is the hunting zone for planets. It is just giving you the greatest possibility of finding a planet with surface liquid water.

Come to NASA they have cookies.

 - Terrestrial planet scientists don't like the idea of their rock being molten, and especially don't like to think of it floating in the atmosphere of a giant planet.

     - Sometimes you just need to present your crazy idea on what controls global dust storms on Mars. But test it out on other planets first.

     - Weather is not the climate, but sometimes the climate can be weather.

     - New horizons got to Pluto just in time. Any later and the atmosphere might have all been condensed out for the winter.
    You also get to give from a
    fancy lectern. 

     - A planet can be considered 'occasionally habitable' if the climate has strong feedback on the atmosphere where you move from a snowball to a warm planet in a cyclical process.

     - The only way to take N2 out of the atmosphere is with biology.

     - There is the same amount of CO2 locked in rocks on Earth as there is causing the runaway greenhouse in Venus' atmosphere.

     - A dune planet could is the zombie afterlife of a habitable world.

     - Volcanoes are cool.

     - While more planets may be in the habitable zone of M-dwarfs they will be receiving much more UV flux from their star which will affect the chemistry of the atmosphere.

     - There could be more tidally locked planets than earth like planets in our galaxy because there are more small stars where the habitable zone is closer to the star so could have dynamically locking.

     - We all need to be asking the question at conferences; "what can we investigate in our field to potentially inform yours?"

     - Give a group of early career researchers some frozen yogurt then leave them with  a coloring book and pens they will really geek out on you.

     - It is a really small world, and Stargate really is the greatest show.
    The result of the early career researchers evening out, featuring MAVEN, Dr Who, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,
    Godzilla/Alien, planetary weather systems, and most importantly a Stargate mid KAWOOSH!


    And my talk on Cloud condensates in hot Jupiter atmospheres can be found at this link -