Feb. 17 free public lecture asks: 'What makes a planet habitable?'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — "What makes a planet habitable?" will be presented on Feb. 17 by James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State. The free public lecture is part of the annual Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science — a series of six consecutive Saturday lectures from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The theme of the 2018 series is "Is There Life on Other Planets?"

Kasting's list of essential ingredients for a planet that could be a good home for life as we know it on Earth includes a solid or liquid surface and adequate supplies of carbon and water. During his lecture, Kasting also will reveal some of the other surprising factors — like volcanoes and moveable continents — that could be important for regulating a planet's climate and recycling elements that are essential for life there. Learn how scientists are trying to begin solving the mystery of how often these and other factors combine to create a liveable environment for Earth-like life on other planets.

After the conclusion of his lecture, Kasting will be available to autograph copies of one of his books, "How to Find a Habitable Planet," which the Penn State Bookstore will have available for purchase in the lobby adjacent to the 100 Thomas Building lecture hall.

On Feb. 24, the final lecture in the 2018 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science series will be presented by Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor and director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University. The title of her lecture is "How to Hunt for Signs of Alien Life."

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is an annual free public minicourse that is organized and supported by the Penn State Eberly College of Science as an enjoyable and enlightening learning opportunity for eager learners in the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. After the presentations, captions are added to the videos, which then are archived online for viewing online at science.psu.edu/frontiers.

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call 814-863-4682 or e-mail sci-comm@psu.edu in advance of your participation or visit. More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, including archived recordings of previous lectures, is online at science.psu.edu/frontiers.

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Last Updated February 14, 2018