UVic professor Colin Goldblatt will explain how studying strange climates and atmospheres on other planets and moons can help understand Earth’s atmospheric evolution at an upcoming VIU science and technology community lecture that is free and open to the public. (Photo submitted)

Professor to speak in Nanaimo about Solar System’s weirdest climates

VIU guest lecturer explains how studying planetary neighbours’ atmospheres helps to understand Earth’s

They say if you don’t like the weather, move, but a visit to some of the places in our Solar System might just stifle any complaining about the weather back on Earth.

Anyone curious about weird climates and strange atmospheres on other planets, how Earth’s atmosphere evolved and where it’s heading can get some insight from the next guest speaker at Vancouver Island University’s Science and Tech Community Lecture Series event.

Colin Goldblatt, associate professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Astronomy Research Centre at the University of Victoria, will present Weird Climates: Atmospheres of Our Solar System and Beyond.

Goldblatt will describe the striking differences between Earth’s breathable atmosphere to those on planets and moons, such as Mars, Venus, Titan and Europa, places which have global deserts, clouds of sulphuric acid, rains of liquid methane or are completely covered with ice. Goldblatt will explain how exploring and studying the strange atmospheres of other planets can help people understand Earth’s climatic and atmospheric past, present and future.

Goldblatt’s main research focuses in the atmospheric evolution of Earth and Earth-like planets. Questions that drive his research include how has Earth’s atmospheric composition and climate evolved throughout the planet’s history, what determined that evolution, what controls habitability and how does life on a planet affect its evolution.

Goldblatt has been a research associate at the University of Washington astronomy department and NASA Astrobiology Institute’s virtual planetary laboratory. He was also a post-doctoral program fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Centre.

Wednesday’s lecture is sponsored by the Awareness of Climate Change through Education and Research – a public outreach initiative led by an inter-disciplinary group of undergraduate students under the guidance of VIU faculty – and the Nanaimo Astronomy Society. It happens Wednesday, Feb. 5, 7-8 p.m. (refreshments at 6:45 p.m.) at VIU’s Building 355, Room 203. The lecture series is open to the public and admission is free.

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