Speaker: Prof. John E. Moores, York University
What if the Earth was no longer habitable? Where else in the solar system could we make our homes? By exploring our solar system and examining what it is that makes a planet habitable, we can answer these questions and begin to understand how our own planet works. This talk will discuss planetary habitability, from the necessary ingredients for life to arise and proliferate in a planetary context to how life shapes and regulates its own environment. We will explore where in the solar system the habitable places can be found: past, present and future. But are those habitable places inhabited? More than any organism in history, humanity has increased the range of conditions under which life can be maintained, but even the most clement extraterrestrial environment presents serious challenges to our survival and motivates the need for stewardship of our own fragile pale blue dot.
John Moores is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering at York University (with a graduate appointment in the Earth and Space Science and Physics and Astronomy Departments) and a Participating Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, popularly known as the Curiosity Rover. After training on MER in 2004, he contributed to the 2005 Huygens Mission to Saturn’s Moon Titan and the 2008 Phoenix Mission to the Martian Arctic. His work has been included in 41 peer-reviewed papers and 52 conference proceedings. He is a collaborator on two NSERC CREATE programs, the chair of the Canadian Space Agency’s Planetary Exploration Consultation Committee and the chair of the Lassonde School of Engineering Awards Committee.
This special AstroTour will be followed by a reception with free food and drink as well as an observing session with the campus telescopes during Earth Hour itself.
The U of T Astronomy Public Tour, or AstroTour, is a monthly event operated by the graduate students of the U of T Astronomy Department. The Tour features a public lecture by a member of the Department on topics ranging from their research to great moments in astronomical history. Following the lecture, tour-goers can peer at the night sky through the Department’s balcony and dome telescopes, or watch a planetarium show run live by astronomer. Admission to the tour is free. Seating for the lecture is on a first-come, first-served basis (doors open ten minutes before the start of the lecture), and the telescope observing is walk-in.
Who can attend: Everyone
Reservations: Only required for Planetarium Shows (available March 12th at noon)
Organized by: Graduate Astronomy Students Association. The AstroTours are generously financed by the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Location: Earth Sciences Centre (5 Bancroft Avenue and 33 Willcocks Street, Room ES1050, University of Toronto)