Living on Mars: Our Journey to the Red Planet
May
7
6:00 PM18:00

Living on Mars: Our Journey to the Red Planet

The race to send the first people to Mars is well underway. But this time, unlike the Moon landings, people will be going to stay. They will explore, make discoveries, and build a home on the Red Planet.

What challenges will need to be overcome to make this a reality, and how can they be dealt with? Which technologies will be needed for a small community to survive (and ultimately thrive) on Mars? How might the early Martian pioneers engineer unique solutions as they construct the first society on another world?

In this talk, Cambridge University Astronomer Ryan MacDonald will explore how humanity will settle the Red Planet in the 21st century.

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Characterising Exoplanet Atmospheres
Jan
29
7:30 PM19:30

Characterising Exoplanet Atmospheres

  • Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Department of Chemistry (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Astronomers have now discovered over 3,800 planets orbiting other stars. Ranging from inferno gas giants with temperatures as hot as stars to rocky terrestrial worlds residing in the habitable zone, the diversity of planets in our galaxy continues to offer surprises. Exoplanet science is now going through a paradigm shift, as we move from the era of discovery to the era of characterisation.

By peering into the atmosphere of an exoplanet, one can infer the conditions on these distant worlds. Over the last decade, astronomers have developed new techniques to measure the atmospheres of exoplanets in remarkable detail. In the near future, these very techniques may ultimately allow detections of biosignatures in the atmospheres of distant worlds.

Ryan MacDonald is an exoplanet astronomer at the University of Cambridge. By creating theoretical models of exoplanet atmospheres, he seeks to explain spectroscopic observations taken with space and ground-based telescopes. In this talk, he will explain the main techniques used to characterise exoplanet atmospheres, highlight recent cutting-edge discoveries, and look ahead to the prospect of detecting life elsewhere in our galaxy.

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The Inferno World with Titanium Skies
Nov
23
8:00 PM20:00

The Inferno World with Titanium Skies

In late 2017, the European Southern Observatory announced the discovery of a truly alien exoplanet atmosphere. Heated to over 2000C, the inferno world WASP-19b is the first exoplanet with titanium oxide detected in its atmosphere. But what is this world really like? What secrets could it still hold?

In this talk, Cambridge University astronomer Ryan MacDonald - part of the team which identified the titanium skies of WASP-19b - will guide you on an 815 light year journey to an exotic world at the very edge of the known.

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Characterising Exoplanet Atmospheres
Nov
14
3:00 PM15:00

Characterising Exoplanet Atmospheres

  • Aberystwyth University Physics and Astronomy Society (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Astronomers have now discovered over 3,800 planets orbiting other stars. Ranging from inferno gas giants with temperatures as hot as stars to rocky terrestrial worlds residing in the habitable zone, the diversity of planets in our galaxy continues to offer surprises. Exoplanet science is now going through a paradigm shift, as we move from the era of discovery to the era of characterisation.

By peering into the atmosphere of an exoplanet, one can infer the conditions on these distant worlds. Over the last decade, astronomers have developed new techniques to measure the atmospheres of exoplanets in remarkable detail. In the near future, these very techniques may ultimately allow detections of biosignatures in the atmospheres of distant worlds.

Ryan MacDonald is an exoplanet astronomer at the University of Cambridge. By creating theoretical models of exoplanet atmospheres, he seeks to explain spectroscopic observations taken with space and ground-based telescopes. In this talk, he will explain the main techniques used to characterise exoplanet atmospheres, highlight recent cutting-edge discoveries, and look ahead to the prospect of detecting life elsewhere in our galaxy.

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Where are the Aliens?
Oct
24
7:15 PM19:15

Where are the Aliens?

  • Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Astronomers have discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars. And yet, the greatest question of all remains unanswered: are we alone in the Universe?

In this talk, Cambridge University Astronomer Ryan MacDonald examines what life is, where life may thrive in the solar system or beyond, and, finally, could there be intelligent life still out there waiting to be discovered?

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