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A fundamental aspect of understanding the limits of habitable environments is the study of where the boundaries of such environments can occur, and the conditions under which a planet is rendered into a hostile environment. In our solar system, Venus is the most Earth-like planet, yet at some point in planetary history there was a bifurcation between the two: Earth has been continually habitable since the end-Hadean, whereas Venus became uninhabitable. In this talk I will describe the factors that influence the evolution of terrestrial surface environments. I will discuss the gaps in our knowledge regarding Venus, how these gaps will be addressed by coming missions, and how these new data will help us to answer the fundamental question: Will Earth become Venus?


Speaker Stephen Kane is a Professor of Planetary Astrophysics at the University of California, Riverside who specializes in exoplanetary science and planetary habitability. He received his Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Macquarie University in Sydney and his Doctorate from the University of Tasmania. His work covers a broad range of topics related to planetary astrophysics and he has discovered and co-discovered hundreds of planets orbiting other stars. He is a leading expert on the topic of planetary habitability, the habitable zone of planetary systems, and the study of why Venus and Earth underwent divergent evolutions. He has published hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers as well as several books on the topic of exoplanets and habitability. He is also a prolific advocate of interdisciplinary science through the combination of biology, climate science, geophysics, planetary science, and stellar astrophysics.

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