Session programme

EXOA – Exoplanets, Origins of Planetary Systems and Astrobiology

Programme group coordinators: John Lee Grenfell, Séverine Robert, Francisco J. Pozuelos


The impressive rate of exoplanet discoveries nowadays is driven by the synergies between different observational techniques and space-based missions. This confluence of efforts reveals a great variety of planets and planetary systems that challenge our understanding of planetary formation and evolution, planetary occurrences, physical-chemistry properties, and system architectures.
Hence, in this session, we aim to bring together recent results and studies performed by observers, modelers, and experimentalists, and a combination of them to open discussions about the pathways that the community needs to follow to understand the exoplanetary variety fully and promote and inspire the collaboration between teams with different expertise. In particular, this session welcomes any abstract related to the following topics:

(1) groundbreaking discoveries of planets and systems of special interest (due to peculiar physical properties/orbital architectures, amenable targets for atmospheric investigations, etc.);
(2) cutting-edge measurements of exoplanet properties (tidal distortions, spin rates, and angles) and first tentative detections of satellites or rings;
(3) contributions to the general picture of exoplanets (precise measurements of radii, masses and internal planetary compositions, observed/theoretical populations, occurrences, etc.);
(4) demographics studies out of detection surveys from the ground- and/or space-based observatories;
(5) synergies between different techniques for comprehensive exoplanet characterization (photometry, low and high-resolution spectroscopy, radial velocities, transit timing variations, radio observations, etc.);
(6) new tools and software developments for exoplanet searches and characterization (Artificial Intelligence tools, new methodologies and computational architectures, open-source initiatives, etc.)

Convener: Giuseppe Morello | Co-conveners: Francisco J. Pozuelos, Judith Korth, Achrène Dyrek, Jaume Orell-Miquel, Camilla Danielski

There is a great diversity of planets, and probably a larger diversity of atmospheres. Since a few years, we are entering a new era in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres, thanks in particular to the very high-quality observations of the JWST. In a very close future, these data will be supplemented by observations from space missions (e.g. Ariel) and ground observations (e.g. ELTs). There are several approaches to characterizing these atmospheres: observations, modeling and experiment. These three approaches are very complementary to each others, and it is important to see in each way they can be linked together.

This session aims to: (1) share recent results from the latest JWST observations on exoplanetary atmospheres and future observational strategies, (2) present results from the latest state-of-the-art atmospheric models and retrievals, and discuss future development needed, (3) highlight experimental results on atmospheric studies and their complementarity to models and observations, and (4) improve synergies between these different approaches.

Convener: Yassin Jaziri | Co-conveners: Thomas Drant, Olivia Venot, Martin Turbet

While there is still great uncertainty about the processes that formed the complex organic molecules necessary for the emergence of life on Earth, data collected from ground-based observations and space missions suggest that organic molecules, even with some complexity, can form in the extreme conditions of the interstellar medium as well as on the surface or in the gaseous envelopes of solar system bodies.
Either the hypothesis that the supply of organic molecules necessary for the emergence of life is of extraterrestrial origin or the hypothesis that such organic molecules were synthesized locally on Earth as it is done in other planets or moons of our Solar System (or beyond) require convincing evidence that only space exploration in search of molecular complexity can provide. In this symposium, we will analyze the state of the art of our knowledge on the degree of complexity that organic molecules can reach in the interstellar medium (with particular attention to star-forming regions and protoplanetary disks), in comets, asteroids, meteorites, and interplanetary dust particles as well as in the planets and moons of the Solar System. Contributions on the detection of organic molecules in space, on laboratory experiments to determine their formation pathways, on astrochemical or photochemical models as well as on implications in astrobiology are welcome.

Convener: Nadia Balucani | Co-conveners: Davide Fedele, Wolf Geppert, Eleonora Bianchi, Stavro Lambrov Ivanovski, Vassilissa Vinogradoff

Astrobiology is the study of whether present or past life exists elsewhere in the universe. To understand how life can begin in space, it is essential to know what organic compounds were likely available, and how they interacted with the planetary environment. This session seeks papers that offer existing/novel theoretical models or computational works that address the chemical and environmental conditions relevant to astrobiology on terrestrial planets/moons or ocean worlds, along with other theoretical, experimental, and observational works related to the emergence and development of Life in the Universe. This includes work related to prebiotic chemistry, the chemistry of early life, the biogeochemistry of life’s interaction with its environment, chemistry associated with biosignatures and their false positives, and chemistry pertinent to conditions that could possibly harbor life (e.g. Titan, Enceladus, Europa, TRAPPIST-1, habitable exoplanets, etc.).
Understanding how the planetary environment has influenced the evolution of life and how biological processes have changed the environment is an essential part of any study of the origin and search for signs of life. A central issue in the research on the emergence of life is the paradoxical role of water in pre-biotic chemistry. In fact,on the one hand, water is essential for all known life, on the other hand it is highly destructive for key biomolecules such as nucleic and polypeptides. Earth analogues experiments/instruments test and/or simulation campaigns and limits of life studies are included as well as one of the main topics of this session.

Major Space Agencies identified planetary habitability and the search for evidence of life as a key component of their scientific missions in the next two decades. The development of instrumentation and technology to support the search for complex organic molecules/sings of life/biosignatures and the endurance of life in space environments is critical to define unambiguous approaches to life detection over a broad range of planetary environments. A truly interdisciplinary approach is needed to delve into the core of the issue of emergence of life, because in addition to physics and chemistry it is also need to deploy a number of other sciences. We rely on contribution coming from mathematical or philosophical perspectives not only on astrobiology moreover we think that a part of the answers may lie in scientists who working on cancer research, genetics, space exploration paleontology who are not necessarily involved in this field.

Co-organized by TP
Convener: Felipe Gómez | Co-convener: Rosanna del Gaudio

Mineral surfaces might have played a pivotal role in the concentration, oligomerization, and compartmentalization of biologically relevant organic molecules, shielding them from radiation and hydrolysis. Concurrently, abiotic mineral precipitates known as biomorphs are able to mimic microbial cells and biologic remnants both morphologically and chemically. Join us in this session as we explore the dual role of minerals in igniting prebiotic chemical reactions and in hindering the detection of Life on Earth and Beyond. We welcome contributions focusing on reactions of mineral and/or metal surfaces with organic molecules in early Earth conditions and in extraterrestrial settings, such as interstellar media, icy moons, cometary environments and others. Topics can include both experimental and computational work tied to: i) adsorption processes and chemical reactivity of biomolecules on mineral surfaces, ii) hydrothermal alteration of organic matter in presence of minerals, iii) vesicle and protocell formation assisted by minerals, iv) the role of minerals/metals in the production of protometabolic reaction networks, v) mineral self-organized patterns and biomorphs that obscure the detection of true biosignatures and Life traces, including examples from laboratory experiments and field studies.

Co-organized by TP
Convener: Electra Kotopoulou | Co-conveners: Albert Rimola, Vassilissa Vinogradoff

Over the last decades, we have been getting closer to characterizing the atmospheres of exoplanets. This has sparked renewed investigations of how planetary atmospheres could act as a tracer of the evolution of planets as a whole system. Advances in planetary science have revealed an incredible diversity of possible atmospheres on the various planetary bodies in our galaxy and through time. Considerable efforts are being made at international level to better understand such diverse atmospheres and the driving forces behind their evolution. This session welcomes presentations regarding how our knowledge of current planetary atmospheres can shed light on their evolutionary paths. How can the exploration of planetary atmospheres inform about the history of planet formation, their long-term climate, and the interaction between atmosphere, surface, interior and volatile reservoirs?

Co-organized by TP/OPS
Convener: Ann Carine Vandaele | Co-conveners: Giuliano Liuzzi, Yeon Joo Lee, Cédric Gillmann, Anne Grete Straume-Lindner

Atmospheric aerosols and cloud particles are found in every atmosphere of the solar system, as well as, in exoplanets. Depending on their size, shape, chemical composition, latent heat, and distribution, their effect on the radiation budget varies drastically and is difficult to predict. When organic, aerosols also carry a strong prebiotic interest reinforced by the presence of heavy atoms such as nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur.

The aim of the session is to gather presentations on these complex objects for both terrestrial and giant planet atmospheres, including the special cases of Titan’s, Pluto's and Triton's hazy atmospheres. All research aspects from their production and evolution processes, their observation/detection, to their fate and atmospheric impact are welcomed, including laboratory investigations and modeling.

Co-organized by TP/EXOA
Convener: Panayotis Lavvas | Co-conveners: Anni Määttänen, Audrey Chatain, Nathalie Carrasco

With JWST scientifically operational since mid-2022, and PLATO and ARIEL on the horizon, we are now in the middle of a decade of exoplanet characterization. We therefore invite abstracts to this session with a focus on the characterization of rocky to sub-Neptune. This includes modeling of their internal chemical composition and structure, density and age, laboratory experiments and ab initio calculations, thermal evolution models, and atmospheric evolution models. We also invite abstracts focussing on the observational capability of current and upcoming space missions and ground-based telescopes to characterize low-mass to Neptune-size exoplanets. Our aim with this session is to foster the discussion between modelers, experimentalists and observers especially in preparation for the PLATO and ARIEL space missions.

Co-organized by TP/OPS
Convener: Lena Noack | Co-conveners: Heike Rauer, Theresa Lueftinger, Ana Maria Heras, Kevin Heng, Tim Lichtenberg

Exoplanets are being discovered in large numbers thanks to recent and ongoing surveys using state-of-the-art instrumentation from the ground and from space. In the next years, new astronomical instruments will scout ever more distant regions of our Galaxy and they will validate new technology for the ultimate direct characterisation of temperate exoplanets. Such a change of physical and technological horizon will allow us to overcome the current observational biases in the search of alien worlds, and to gain a deeper understanding of the chemical and physical properties of exoplanets and the environment that surround them. Ultimately we will be able to unveil processes of formation and evolution of planets, together with those of their atmospheres, on a scale much larger than our Solar Neighbourhood.

The goal of this session is to bring together the instrumentation and observational communities that are underpinning the future of this field. Contributions are invited to review ongoing programmes of exoplanet and circumstellar discs discovery and characterisation, to update on the progress of planned instrumentation programmes, and to present innovative ideas for future instrumentation.

Co-organized by EXOA
Convener: Camilla Danielski | Co-conveners: Andrea Bocchieri, Elodie Choquet, Lorenzo V. Mugnai

Debris disks are belts of planetesimals and dust, like the Asteroid Belt and Kuiper Belt in our Solar System. Many extrasolar debris disks have resolved features, like warps, gaps and clumps, which are often attributed to planetary interactions or stellar flybys. Debris-disk features therefore encode information about the architectures and histories of planetary systems, providing clues about unseen planets and historical dynamical encounters.

JWST presents a groundbreaking opportunity to detect the planets inferred from debris-disk features. Concurrently, ongoing statistical analyses are scrutinising star positions, to unveil historical flybys in these systems. These datasets would let us discern whether disk features genuinely denote planets, flybys, or other phenomena. As a collective community, we must be ready to decipher the wealth of upcoming data, and interpret what debris disks are telling us about the formation, architecture and evolution of planetary systems.

This session serves as a convergence point for observers and theorists studying debris, planets, and stellar flybys. It seeks to highlight the diverse array of disk features observed, and explore their interpretation across various dynamic scenarios. Additionally, the session aims to pinpoint promising avenues for observation and theory, leveraging upcoming programs on instruments like JWST and anticipating future facilities like the ELT.

Convener: Veronica Roccatagliata | Co-conveners: Minjae Kim, Tim Pearce

Understanding the formation and evolution of the earliest phase of planet formation - the disk phase - is crucial to planetary science. Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in observing protoplanetary disks, understanding the gas and dust dynamics, their chemical composition, and forming the first gravitationally-bound bodies therein, called planetesimals. The planetesimals are precursors of today's asteroids and comets. Thus, the Solar System provides important constraints from the architecture and chemistry of small body populations (asteroids, comets, Kuiper-belt objects) and the meteorites. These measurements inform when and where planetesimals formed and how they might have evolved. Thus, they are critical to constraining the Solar System and planet formation models more generally.
In this session, we welcome contributions on the following topics:
1) observations of disks and their properties,
2) theoretical models of disks (their formation and evolution),
3) models of planetesimal formation and evolution (thermal, collisional, dynamical, etc.),
4) links between planetesimals, small bodies (asteroids, comets, KBOs, etc.), meteorites, and samples returned by space missions.
5) links between the chemical composition of small bodies and that of ices and gas in protoplanetary disks
This interdisciplinary session will serve as a platform to exchange recent results regarding all of the aspects of planetesimal formation in the proto-solar and other protoplanetary disks. We look to build synergy between astrochemistry, star and planet formation models, cosmochemistry, and Solar System research.

Co-organized by SB
Convener: Raphael Marschall | Co-conveners: Joanna Drazkowska, Manuela Lippi, Jessica Barnes, Til Birnstiel, Sébastien Charnoz, Martin Cordiner, Marjorie Galinier, Aurelie Guilbert-Lepoutre, Anders Johansen, Kundan Kadam, Hubert Klahr, Tim Lichtenberg, Cyrielle Opitom, Linda Podio, Giovanni Rosotti, Jacob Simon, Colin Snodgrass, Catherine Walsh

The Juno spacecraft continues its journey around Jupiter and its satellites making new important discoveries. Results from Juno at Jupiter have revealed numerous processes associated with the physics and chemistry of its interior, atmosphere, magnetosphere and its origin and evolution. Juno’s extended mission transformed the Jupiter-focused mission to a full system explorer. The extended mission runs through 2025 and includes numerous close and distant flybys of Io, Europa, and Ganymede along with an exploration of Jupiter’s enigmatic ring system. This session invites observational and modeling results related to Juno’s results on Jupiter and the comparison to other giant planets and exo-planetary systems. New results from Juno’s extended mission on Jupiter’s northern latitudes as well as the satellites and ring system are welcome.

Co-organized by TP/EXOA
Convener: Scott Bolton | Co-conveners: Francesca Zambon, Heidi Becker, Anton Ermakov, Paul Hartogh, Alessandro Moirano, Ali Sulaiman

The ocean worlds of the solar system are now considered to be amongst the places in the solar system most likely to offer answers to a whole catalogue of questions concerning the origins and evolution of life. In this session, we will cover topics raging from the conditions for habitability, to ways of exploring these environments. Contributions including, but not purely limited to, results of past instruments and missions, and proposals for future missions and techniques are welcome.

Co-organized by MITM/EXOA
Convener: Axel Hagermann | Co-conveners: Stefan Schröder, Günter Kargl

Characterization of cometary nuclei and their dust, gas and plasma environment
is being done through several in-situ and remote observations techniques.
In the context of the Rosetta mission and missions to small bodies including
Comet Interceptor, and international observing campaigns
of bright comets such as C/2021 A1 (Leonard), C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and
12P/Pons-Brooks, we solicit presentations on recent investigations.

Abstracts on optical, infrared, radio,... remote observations of comets and
active bodies, from the ground as well as space observatories such as JWST, as
well as concerning recent results from in-situ (e.g. mass spectrometry) missions
are welcome.

Co-organized by EXOA
Convener: Nicolas Biver | Co-conveners: Cyrielle Opitom, Martin Rubin, Emmanuel Jehin, Oleksandra Ivanova, J Bauer, Sara Faggi, Adam McKay

The early history of many rocky planetary bodies is dominated by differentiation into a silicate magma ocean, and an iron-alloy core. This is then followed by the solidification of the magma ocean and the first stages of crustal formation, as well as the formation of heterogeneities that may be preserved until the present day. Additionally, during this time, these bodies are still able to accrete new material, which can further alter their composition, size, and structure. Therefore, the accretionary and differentiation history of a rocky body has a profound influence on its subsequent geodynamic evolution, leading to divergent evolutions of planetary bodies within the same solar system e.g. the terrestrial planets. However, the complexity of the physical and chemical processes at play, as well as the paucity of samples, makes elucidating the conditions of late accretion and differentiation a present challenge.

This session invites contributions from all fields of planetary sciences that enlighten our understanding of the influence of late accretion and the physicochemical processes and conditions of planetary differentiation on the early evolution of rocky bodies, both in our own solar system, and in exoplanetary system. We especially encourage submissions from early career researchers.

Co-organized by SB/EXOA
Conveners: Valentin Bonnet Gibet , Kathryn Dodds, Simon Matthews, Pierru Rémy, Harry Becker, Doris Breuer, Harald Hiesinger, STEPHAN KLEMME, Kai Wünnemann