Sagan Fellow Breathes Life into Exo-atmospheres
By Jean-Michel Desert
One important thing we have learned about exoplanets is that they come in many flavors. Some are probably made up of mostly gas, while others must be rocky.
This diversity presents us with an opportunity to understand both planetary formation and how our own solar system formed in a broader context.
With these objectives in mind, our most pressing question becomes: what is the overall composition of these alien worlds?
My work as a Sagan Fellow focuses on characterizing exoplanets and detecting exo-atmospheres. Observing exo-atmospheres allows us to explore the fundamental properties of exoplanets and to investigate their nature, and may offer clues to their origins.
I use state-of-the-art observational techniques associated with ground- and space-based telescopes. These observations are sensitive to spectral features of chemical species present in the atmospheres of these planets.
Ultimately, my goals are to characterize potentially habitable terrestrial exoplanets, and to lay the groundwork for more extensive studies with current and future capabilities.