VPL’s Interdisciplinary Impact on Exoplanet Astrobiology

  • Pioneered exoplanet/Solar System synergy
  • Harnessed terrestrial planet and exoplanet evolution
  • “Earth-like”–– what does this *really* mean? Using the entire history of Earth to guide the search for Earth-like worlds.
  • Terrestrial evolution coupled to stellar evolution for different types of stars.

VPL’s Systems Science Approach to Habitability

It takes a village to model a planet…

Multi-factorial habitability

Developing New Frameworks for Biosignature Interpretation

Changing the framework of how we think about biosignatures, to understand that biosignatures must be interpreted in the context of environment.

We have pioneered ways to understand how oxygen can be generated abioticly and understand what are the observational

discriminants in the planets atmosphere.

Training the Next Generation of Astrobiologists / Mission Scientists

Besides changing the way we think about habitability and biosignatures, but one of other main goals has been in training the next generation of astrobiologist & mission scientists. Many of the amazing students and early career scientists who have worked with our group are moving and shaking and interfacing with mission development and getting Astrobiology to be a major focus of future NASA missions.

Nothing More important than training your future colleagues!

VPL Has Strong Mission Relevance

VPL’s tools, science and small exoplanet observing expertise are playing an integral role in NASA exoplanet mission and mission concept development.  

  • Enhanced small planet yield from Kepler/K2
  • Simulated spectra help interpret HST/Spitzer observations of terrestrial exoplanets.
  • Simulated environments, spectra, and detectability calculations inform upcoming JWST observations.
  • VPL Team members serve on the Science and Technology Definition and/or Study Teams for LUVOIR, HabEx and OST, providing yield estimates, biosignatures and habitability science cases for these proposals.

High Impact Publications