PUP author James Kasting at University College London, “Is the Earth rare?”

James Kasting, author of How to Find a Habitable Planet, will be speaking at the Christopher Ingold Chemistry Lecture Theatre on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm. A wine reception and book signing will follow the lecture. This event is free to attend, but please register tickets at: www.eventbrite.com/event/2278312494

“In their 2000 book, Rare Earth, Peter Ward and Don Brownlee argue that complex life (i.e., animal life) is rare in our galaxy for a variety of reasons, some of which are based on the idea that habitable planets are themselves rare. Possible reasons for this include: 1) Plate tectonics (possibly necessary to stabilize planetary climates) is rare; 2) large moons (possibly necessary to stabilize planetary obliquities) are rare; 3) magnetic fields (possibly necessary to retain atmospheres) are rare; 4) the Sun is anomalously metal-rich; 5) Jupiter-sized outer planets (possibly necessary to protect the Earth from frequent large impacts) are rare. In my talk, I will review these Rare Earth arguments and show that most, or all, of them are less troubling than Ward and Brownlee supposed. Despite this, perhaps there are other factors that could make habitable planets scarce. But this should not discourage us from building the types of large space telescopes required to actually answer this question.”

Location details:
Christopher Ingold Chemistry Lecture Theatre
Chemistry dept., University College London
Gordon Street
WC1H 0AJ London
United Kingdom
Thursday, 8 December 2011 from 17:30 to 20:00 (GMT)

For more information on this event, please visit: www.astrobiologysociety.org/component/content/article/22-conferences/334-is-the-earth-rare.html