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Speaker Night – John E. Moores – Our Celestial Rosetta Stone

May 24 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

JOHN E MOORES, York University

Our Celestial Rosetta Stone:
Exploring our Family of Planets to Understand Processes Across the Cosmos

In the past 30 years, telescopes in space and on the ground have discovered thousands of extrasolar planets, providing us with a representative sample of the worlds that orbit other stars in our galaxy for the first time. However, our knowledge of these planets is limited to no more than a few datapoints for each one by the vast distances that separates us. Yet, though these places live mainly in our mind’s eye, we can construct remarkably accurate pictures of the processes which dominate their environments. We can do this because of our understanding of planetary processes that we have gained through 62 years of robotic solar system exploration. This hard-won experience, like a celestial Rosetta Stone, allows us to translate our sparse information about the exoplanetary realm into the language of our familiar solar family of planets. However, unlike the famous artifact, we can still write new chapters to the translation. Exoplanets tell us about the full diversity of worlds and their circumstances while robotic space exploration missions consider a single representative world from that set up close. Thus, exoplanetary astronomy and solar system exploration are disciplines in dialogue. By deeply interrogating our nearest neighbors we can expand our understanding of planets everywhere.

John E Moores is the York Research Chair in Space Exploration and the Director of the Technologies for Exo/Planetary Science NSERC CREATE. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and the recipient of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute’s 2022 McCurdy Award. John holds a B.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Planetary Science. An author on nearly 80 peer reviewed publications in planetary science, John has also been a member of five NASA and ESA-led space mission teams. The contributions of his research group to robotic space exploration have been recognized with sixteen NASA group achievement awards. His first popular science book, Daydreaming in the Solar System, co-authored with colleague Jesse Rogerson, will be published by the MIT Press in October.

This will be an in-person meeting only.

Photo by Shakeel Anwar



May 24
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


DV3130 William Davis Building UTM


Program Committee