MIT’s Sara Seager to Talk about Possible Life in Venus’ Atmosphere at Virtual Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Sara Seager, a prominent astronomer and planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will give a virtual update about efforts to search for bio-signatures in the atmosphere of the planet Venus during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021.

Serving as the Class of 1941 Professor of Physics & Planet Science and Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics at MIT, Dr. Seager, along with other researchers at MIT, Cardiff University, and several other schools, have found evidence of phosphine, a gas associated with living organisms, in the habitable region of Venus’ atmosphere. Further investigation will be carried out in the coming years with the launch of several spacecraft missions to Venus by NASA and the European Space Agency.

Dr. Seager’s current research interests focus on the discovery and characterization of exoplanets. She has two main goals: the discovery of another Earth and the search for signs of life by way of atmospheric biosignature gases. Thousands of exoplanets are known to exist with exoplanet atmospheres a firmly established field of research. Exoplanet atmosphere observations, are however mostly limited to giant exoplanets with puffy atmospheres. Her group aims to understand the atmospheric composition and the interior structure of small rocky exoplanets, of the kind with potential to host life.

Dr. Seager earned her B.Sc. degree in Mathematics & Physics from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Harvard University. In addition, she has received a series of awards and honors, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow (2012), the MacArthur Fellow (2013), and the Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (2020), and, most recently, was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2020.

This year’s virtual Mars Society conference will be free of charge (although donations are welcomed). For full details, including how to register, please click here. Regular updates, including a list of confirmed speakers, will be posted in the coming weeks on the Mars Society web site and its social media platforms. 

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Call for Papers

Presentations for the 2021 Virtual Mars Society Convention are invited dealing with all matters (science, technology, engineering, politics, economics, public policy, etc.) associated with the exploration and human settlement of the planet Mars.  Abstracts between 100-300 words can be uploaded at the Mars Society convention registration site (https://lnkd.in/e-XKGGR). Please note that the abstract submission deadline is August 31, 2021.