Planets and Meaningful Lives

In 1995 we knew of one planet orbiting another star like the Sun. Today we now know of nearly over 5000 planets orbiting other stars. We call these planets extrasolar planets, or “exoplanets.” These planets orbit a range of different types of stars, including stars very different from our own. And the planets themselves present a wide range of potential environments in which life could thrive or not.

How do we know what it takes for life to thrive on a planet?

What does it take for you to thrive on this planet?

In this workshop, I will be discussing my exploration of the possible climates and potential habitability of extrasolar planets, particularly those orbiting low mass stars. I will also be expanding on my use of climate models that are traditionally used to predict climate and weather patterns on the Earth.

Like my untraditional methods of planetary exploration, my career path is also untraditional. I will therefore also be discussing how combining two apparently contrasting things, such as science and art, can add enriching meaning to our lives to create a life that feels reflective of the whole self. It is never too late to start doing what we’ve always dreamed of doing.

As we’ll see, when it comes to the search for life elsewhere in the universe, as in our own lives, answering that question is a process as dynamic as the discovery of new worlds orbiting trillions of miles away.

Dr. Anowama Shields