Exploring Venus as a Terrestrial Planet
13-16 February 2006
Abstract Submission Information
The purpose of this Chapman Conference is to review the current knowledge of Venus including surface and interior processes, atmospheric circulation, chemistry, and aeronomy; and compare the evolution of Venus with that of Earth and Mars. We will preview observation plans and results expected from Venus Express and identify objectives for future research and missions. The conference will raise interest among young scientists, including graduate students. Papers of exceptionally high quality will be solicited for submission as an AGU Monograph or a special issue in an AGU journal pending approval of the AGU Publications program.
After a long period, Venus will soon be visited by a dedicated space mission, ESA's Venus Express (VenusX). This mission will orbit and observe Venus beginning in 2006. The Japanese Venus Climate Orbiter (VCO) will reach Venus in 2009. More than 20 US investigators are involved with these international missions. The conference will provide an opportunity to share their experience and make valuable inputs to VenusX and VCO mission planning.
Space missions to Venus, including the Soviet Veneras, Pioneer Venus, and Magellan, have provided a wealth of information about this planet's enigmatic surface and atmosphere but left many fundamental questions about its origin and evolution answered.
Venus is a world unimaginably different from our own. At the bottom of an ocean of gasses (P ~96 bars) lies a surface as hot as a self-cleaning oven (T ~740 K). Enormous volcanic edifices and flows cover thousands of square kilometers, and shimmer visibly through the thick fluid, a supercritical mixture of CO2, N2, H2O, and sulfur gases.
Yet for all their stunning contrasts, Venus and Earth share a heritage closest of any planets. Being of the same size and having been born in the same neighborhood of the solar nebula, they were most likely constructed from similar planetary building blocks. The Venus surface attests to familiar (and some unfamiliar) geological processes, and its climate, like Earth's, may be driven by feedback between the atmosphere, surface, and interior. If Earth's vast continental-shelf carbonates were released into the atmosphere today as carbon dioxide, Earth would have an atmosphere similar to, but wetter than, that of Venus. Today Earth has water and abundant life, and Venus does not.
Venus and Earth represent a special class of terrestrial planet, ones with a significant inventory of volatiles and sufficient gravity to hold them. They reside in the habitable zone around their star. No two planets were created more alike. Therefore exploration of Venus will illuminate the origins of our world, and perhaps others like it around distant stars. Was Venus ever like Earth? Could it, too, have incubated life in a volcanic, aqueous past? Will Earth someday become like Venus? What determines whether a rocky world forming around a nearby star evolves to a warm wet world like Earth, or to the sulfurous, desiccated hell that is Venus? Was the fate of Venus determined by its place in the solar system or by its unique composition? If interchanged, would Venus have become Earth, and Earth, Venus? Was Venus's atmosphere created by the infall of isotopically fractionated planetesimals, or is its composition the result of an era of massive hydrodynamic escape?
One of the most exciting mysteries about Venus is whether it had an ocean, and if it did, how long it lasted. The ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in Venus atmospheric water is 150 times that of Earth, indicating that a large amount of water has escaped to space. Plateau highlands on Venus are highly deformed; they appear to predate the vast volcanic plains that make up the majority of the surface. Elemental measurements of the lowland plains composition by the Soviet Venera and VEGA landers are consistent with basalt. Are the tesserae basaltic, or are they continent-like, differentiated crust?
Review the Conference Program (PDF) (125kb)
The conference lasts four days, with the program
committee staying an extra
half-day to write a summary report. Mornings will feature invited reviews; contributed
poster sessions will be in the afternoon. Please check the conference program for specific details.
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The Abstract Submission deadline of November 15, 2005 has passed. If you have questions, please contact Ellen Shortill at: E-mail: email@example.com; Phone: +1-202-777-7335
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The location for this conference is the Sheraton Beach Resort Key Largo in Key Largo, FL. Information about the hotel can be found at http://www.keylargoresort.com The hotel is offering a rate of $179.00 per night, for single or double occupancy. Please call the hotel directly at +1 888-627-8545, mention AGU, to make your reservations. This rate will only be available until 12 January 2006.
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