Colin Goldblatt, UVic’s Resident Astrobiologist

January 16, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield

Remember the first-ever Earthlike exoplanet that was discovered earlier this month?

There’s a Victoria connection: with reports ¬†prepared for NASA’s astrobiology institute titled “Stellar Effects on Planetary Habitability and the Limits of the Habitable Zone” UVic researcher Colin Goldblatt’s research is playing a key role understanding life in other parts of the universe.

Goldblatt also active on Reddit.

Goldblatt is one of the researchers that is making UVic and Victoria where people turn to to understand whether or not exoplanets can have earthlike atmospheres and support life, but also whether or not our own planet is going to be able to support life in the far future, or if Earth will fall victim to runaway climate change.

Another cool paper: “The Runaway Greenhouse: implications for future climate change, geoengineering and planetary atmospheres.”

Tectoria’s own Colin Goldplatt is recognized as an expert on the runaway greenhouse effect, where C02 levels trap heat in an increasingly severe feedback loop causing temperatures to rise to lead-melting temperatures – precisely what happened on Venus.

The good news according to Goldblatt?

“The good news is that almost all lines of evidence lead us to believe that is unlikely to be possible, even in principle, to trigger full a runaway greenhouse by addition of non-condensible greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.”

That bad news? We don’t have enough evidence to know for sure and, according to Goldblatt’s interview on NBC, may be easier to trigger on Earth than other planets.

Basically, when people talk about the effect of greenhouses gases on the Earth’s climate, they rely on the cutting-edge research of scientists like Goldblatt at UVic.

UVic researcher Goldblatt’s affiliation with NASA also helps to put Victoria on the map as a centre for research into global warming – Goldplatt frequently takes interview requests from the media about the greenhouse effect and climate change.

In recent years, as extrasolar planets have been detected, the big question is: do any of these planets harbour life?

The only way to know is to look at the exoplanet’s atmosphere, and that’s where Goldblatt’s research is making science fiction a reality.

Goldblatt points out that by analyzing faint variations an exoplanet’s atmosphere it may even be possible to tell if life is present. Goldblatt’s research at UVic is providing the basis for understanding whether or not life exists in other parts of the galaxy.

Bonus Link:

Colin Goldblatt’s awesome TEDx Victoria Talk: “How to find life on other planets”


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