Venus As A Laboratory For Exoplanetary Science

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
August 8, 2019
Filed under
Venus As A Laboratory For Exoplanetary Science

The current goals of the astrobiology community are focused on developing a framework for the detection of biosignatures, or evidence thereof, on objects inside and outside of our solar system.

A fundamental aspect of understanding the limits of habitable environments (surface liquid water) and detectable signatures thereof is the study of where the boundaries of such environments can occur. Such studies provide the basis for understanding how a once inhabitable planet might come to be uninhabitable. The archetype of such a planet is arguably Earth’s sibling planet, Venus. Given the need to define the conditions that can rule out biorelated signatures of exoplanets, Venus provides a unique opportunity to explore the processes that led to a completely uninhabitable environment by our current definition of the term.

Here we review the current state of knowledge regarding Venus, particularly in the context of remote sensing techniques that are being or will be employed in the search for and characterization of exoplanets. We discuss candidate Venus analogs identified by the Kepler and TESS exoplanet missions and provide an update to exoplanet demographics that can be placed in the potential runaway greenhouse regime where Venus analogs are thought to reside. We list several major outstanding questions regarding the Venus environment and the relevance of those questions to understanding the atmospheres and interior structure of exoplanets. Finally, we outline the path towards a deeper analysis of our sibling planet and the synergy to exoplanetary science.

Stephen R. Kane, Giada Arney, David Crisp, Shawn Domagal-Goldman2, Lori S. Glaze, Colin Goldblatt, David Grinspoon, James W. Head, Adrian Lenardic, Cayman Unterborn, Michael J. Way, Kevin J. Zahnle
(Submitted on 7 Aug 2019)

Comments: 20 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication in JGR Planets
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1908.02783 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1908.02783v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Stephen Kane
[v1] Wed, 7 Aug 2019 18:14:18 UTC (9,207 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻