World Space Week event "RARE EARTH" - Google+ Hangout held by Simonetta Di Pippo

World Space Week event “RARE EARTH” - Lectio Magistralis held by astrophysicist Simonetta Di Pippo (Google+ Hangout)

Wednesday, October 9th 2013, 6 p.m. (GMT+2):

•Google Hangout On Air (see Google+ Event)

•Fresco Room, Castello Della Rovere - Vinovo (TO - Italy)

Simonetta Di Pippo, Head of the European Space Policy Observatory at ASI – Brussels, will hold a lectio magistralis on “Rare Earth”. Last May the Italian eminent astrophysicist was awarded an honorary degree in Environmental Studies from SJIU. A decision with which SJIU has meant to recognize her efforts for the safeguard of our planet through space research. The topic chosen for her lectio magistralis at SJIU is particularly impressive.

Abstract. In planetology and astrobiology, Rare Earth defines a scientific approach which argues that the emergence of complex forms of life on our mother planet required a difficult combination of, among others, astrophysical and geological events. What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? To answer this question, we need to synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the Universe. Looking then at our Solar System, a comparative analysis between Venus, Earth and Mars could provide information both on the evolution of the Earth in its history and how it could evolve from the current era onwards. Indications of life on Mars and Europa, one of the four Galilean Jupiter’s satellites, climate circulation on Titan, the biggest Saturn’s moon, are other important scientific areas for discoveries and for potential similarities. Another important scientific improvement will come from the recent discoveries of the so-called exo-planets, i.e. planets which are in orbit around other stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. Extraterrestrial life requires an Earth-like planet in an habitable zone? And how many Earth-like planets exist in our Galaxy? And beyond? In any of the possible answers, what remains undisputable is that the Earth is a very special planet, where also anthropization will play a role in its evolution. Comparative planetology will help sustaining our planet’s future.