Brendan H. – BASIS Tucson North

Project Abstract (2017)

The race is currently on to be the first team to find life outside of our own solar system. The first step in this process is to locate what is called the Habitable Zone. This is the area around a star where the conditions are satisfactory enough for life to develop. For example, the temperature has to allow for liquid water, and there has to be enough UV radiation for certain biochemical compounds to synthesize, but not too much that life cannot develop. This step is where I am focusing my research. With a small group of other researchers, I am working on a computer program that can calculate the habitable zones for all the stars within roughly 35 light years of our solar system. I will then co-create a visual that is capable of showing the zone for each of the stars. After doing so, I will look at which of the stars already have confirmed planets, and which of those planets fall within the habitable zone that we calculate. Using this information, and information about the specific planets, we will prioritize which of the planets are most likely to have habitable conditions. The goal of this project is to create a target list for a future telescope biosignature survey.

The Habitable Zone: Life Around Other Stars and Creating a Model for Planet Analysis