Possible Atmospheric Diversity of Low Mass Exoplanets – Some Central Aspects

Abstract

Exoplanetary science continues to excite and surprise with its rich diversity. We discuss here some key aspects potentially influencing the range of exoplanetary terrestrial-type atmospheres which could exist in nature. We are motivated by newly emerging observations, refined approaches to address data degeneracies, improved theories for key processes affecting atmospheric evolution and a new generation of atmospheric models which couple physical processes from the deep interior through to the exosphere and consider the planetary-star system as a whole. Using the Solar System as our guide we first summarize the main processes which sculpt atmospheric evolution then discuss their potential interactions in the context of exoplanetary environments. We summarize key uncertainties and consider a diverse range of atmospheric compositions discussing their potential occurrence in an exoplanetary context.

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Acknowledgements

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. 679030/WHIPLASH). This project is partly supported by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in the framework of an international team entitled “Understanding the Diversity of Planetary Atmospheres.” This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement no. 832738/ESCAPE. M.T. acknowledges funding from the Gruber Foundation. This work has been carried out within the framework of the NCCR PlanetS supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation. This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System. LN and JLG acknowledge support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) Project ID 263649064 TRR 170. This is TRR 170 Publication No. 87. The authors thank ISSI Teams 370 and 464 for fruitful discussions. Mareike Godolt acknowledges support by the German science foundation through project GO 2610/1-1 and the priority program SPP 1992 “Exploring the Diversity of Extrasolar Planets” (GO 2610/2-1).

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Understanding the Diversity of Planetary Atmospheres

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Grenfell, J.L., Leconte, J., Forget, F. et al. Possible Atmospheric Diversity of Low Mass Exoplanets – Some Central Aspects. Space Sci Rev 216, 98 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-020-00716-4

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Keywords

  • Exoplanetary
  • Atmospheres
  • Diversity
  • Review