The Australian National University (ANU) in collaboration with the Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University has hostted the first Franco-Australian Astrobiology and Exoplanet School and Workshop from December 16 - 20, 2017 at the Australian National University.
Over the past twenty years, astronomers have observed more than 3,000 extrasolar planets, consequently revealing the diversity of planets that exist in the universe. This has opened door for us to re-examine and re-define theories on the origin and evolution of planetary systems, and it has also brought us to the point where discovering extra-terrestrial life has become a real possibility. The ever-increasing number of detections continues to drive exoplanet research forward and we are currently on the cusp of a technological revolution where near-future space and ground-based observatories will allow an unprecedented opportunity to further explore and characterise smaller, potentially habitable exoplanets for signs of life.
Key questions to answer are: Do protoplanetary disks include compositional trends that imprint on the future planets? What should future observations of Solar System bodies focus on? Where should we search for nearby habitable Earth-like planets? How can the science of the remote detection of biosignatures be advanced? What can our knowledge of life on Earth tell us about life elsewhere in the universe?
This school and workshop, jointly sponsored by ANU and PSL, brought leading experts from France, Australia and around the world to review these topics and identify new avenues for answering these questions. The outcomes of this workshop will inform future collaborative projects between Australia and France in these fields. This event was supported by the Embassy of France in Australia through the Creative France Short program initiative.