Dr. Sarah Rugheimer - York University


Short Bio:

Dr. Sarah Rugheimer is an astrophysicistand the Allan I Carswell Chair at York University in Toronto. She works on howto detect life on an exoplanet by looking for atmospheric biosignatures. Hereresearch interests are modelling the atmosphere and climate of extrasolarplanets with a particular focus on atmospheric biosignatures in Earth-likeplanets as well as modelling early Earth conditions.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in physicsat the University of Calgary, and her M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard in Astrophysics.She then took the Simons Origins of Life Research Fellowship to St. Andrewsfollowed by a Glasstone Research Fellowship at Oxford. In addition to research,Sarah is interested public outreach. Her TED talk “The Search for Microscopic Aliens” has 1.7million views on TED.com.She previously has been awarded the Barrie Jones Award and the BSA RosalindFranklin Lectureship in 2019, and the Caroline Herschel Lectureship Prize in2018. Her new astrobiology course for the public is available on Amazon AudibleOriginals, called “Searchingfor Extraterrestrial Life.”

Title: Biosignatures through rocky planetevolution around other stars


When we observe the first terrestrialexoplanet atmospheres, we expect to find planets around a wide range of stellartypes, UV environments, and geological conditions. Since the first exoplanetsavailable for characterization will be likely for M dwarf host stars with JWST,understanding the UV environment of these cool stars is a vital step inunderstanding the atmospheres of these planets. Future missions such as LUVOIRand LIFE will be able to do direct detection of the atmospheres of planetsorbiting FGK stars. Additionally, the atmospheres of these planets will not befixed in time. Earth itself offers many possible atmospheric states of aplanet. We set out to examine how an Earth-like planet at different geologicalepochs might look around FGKM star types from a prebiotic world to modern Earthand considering the detectability with LIFE and LUVOIR. Additionally, weexamine the plausibility of detecting prebiotically interesting molecules, suchas HCN, NH3, CH4, and C2H6 in an early-Earth type atmosphere around stars withdifferent UV environments.

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