Talks by Penelope Boston

The Planet Within: Caves from Earth to Mars and Beyond

Penelope Boston National Cave and Karst Research Institute
We can set foot on faraway planets, in a sense, by exploring the world beneath our
feet. Underground caves provide unique insights into what we might find beneath
alien landscapes. We are studying caves on Earth to understand how they
form, the spectacular minerals they produce, and the unusual creatures – from
microbes to vertebrates – that thrive in them.

By understanding the caves of our own planet, we can use them as models for the
subsurfaces of other planets. This work provides insights into the lava tubes

The Galactic Real Estate Market: The Physics and Chemistry of Habitability

Penelope Boston National Cave and Karst Research Institute
Exoplanets, planets circling distant stars, are proving to be an extraordinary source of new thinking about the potential for life beyond Earth. Until recently, we have assumed that our Solar System and its planets were probably representative of such systems elsewhere. But the amazing array of very odd exoplanets that are being uncovered have stimulated a renaissance of thought on the subject of potential homes for life in the universe.