Defining Habitability in the Universe
Exoplanet surveys are beginning to yield potentially "habitable" planets, our understanding of the Solar System is increasing at a great pace thanks to orbiters, landers and rovers, and microbiologists are mapping the survival limits of the most extreme life on Earth.

With these advances in astrobiology, it is more important than ever that we understand what the word "habitable" means. Astronomers typically use it to describe a planet which can possess liquid water on its surface, which even as a simple definition is non-trivial to determine, and may exclude viable subsurface habitats such as what might exist on Europa, or what Mars may have possessed in the past.

It is clear that we must look beyond this traditional definition, and consider many other aspects that are likely to be important for the emergence and long-term persistence of life. A more complete definition requires expertise from solar physicists, astrophysicists, planetary scientists, geologists, chemists and biologists. At the largest of scales, cosmology informs us about the habitability of the entire Universe, in its past and future.

We invite scientists from any discipline across the RAS and STFC remits, and the MIST/UKSP community, to present their research as it relates to astrobiology and the notion of habitability, and to build multidisciplinary connections.
Duncan Forgan
Wednesday 13:30