Exoplanets & Exomoons

The Fundamental Connections Between the Solar System and Exoplanetary Science

By Keith Cowing
December 22, 2020
Filed under
The Fundamental Connections Between the Solar System and Exoplanetary Science

Over the past several decades, thousands of planets have been discovered outside of our Solar System. These planets exhibit enormous diversity, and their large numbers provide a statistical opportunity to place our Solar System within the broader context of planetary structure, atmospheres, architectures, formation, and evolution.

Meanwhile, the field of exoplanetary science is rapidly forging onward towards a goal of atmospheric characterization, inferring surface conditions and interiors, and assessing the potential for habitability. However, the interpretation of exoplanet data requires the development and validation of exoplanet models that depend on in-situ data that, in the foreseeable future, are only obtainable from our Solar System.

Thus, planetary and exoplanetary science would both greatly benefit from a symbiotic relationship with a two-way flow of information. Here, we describe the critical lessons and outstanding questions from planetary science, the study of which are essential for addressing fundamental aspects for a variety of exoplanetary topics. We outline these lessons and questions for the major categories of Solar System bodies, including the terrestrial planets, the giant planets, moons, and minor bodies.

We provide a discussion of how many of these planetary science issues may be translated into exoplanet observables that will yield critical insight into current and future exoplanet discoveries.

Stephen R. Kane, Giada N. Arney, Paul K. Byrne, Paul A. Dalba, Steven J. Desch, Jonti Horner, Noam R. Izenberg, Kathleen E. Mandt, Victoria S. Meadows, Lynnae C. Quick
Comments: 53 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2012.11628 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2012.11628v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Stephen Kane
[v1] Mon, 21 Dec 2020 19:00:26 UTC (8,452 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) 🖖🏻