Exo II: Modelling Phase Curves of Hot Jupiter Planets and Implications for Habitable Planets
For centuries, humans have wondered if there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. With the advent of telescopes capable of detecting planets around other stars, exoplanets, we would like to determine if these planets are capable of harboring life. In our solar system, spacecrafts and landers have been sent to our terrestrial neighbors to look for life. Sample return missions, though costly in both time and money, are one sure fire way to discover if a material ever has, ever could, or contains any familiar life. Barring that, in situ measurement from landers are next best. For exoplanets, these methods are impossible. Therefore, we use remote sensing techniques. What light should we look for to detect life?
Life, as we know it, requires certain surface and atmospheric conditions. We require oxygen to breathe, ozone to protect us from harmful rays, and liquid water on the surface to serve as a catalyst for biochemical reactions. These signatures of life can be detected in the spectrum of a planetary atmosphere. To understand how biology can affect the atmosphere it is critical to understand atmospheres in