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Distinguishing between Wet and Dry Atmospheres of TRAPPIST-1 e and f

Wunderlich, Fabian and Scheucher, Markus and Godolt, Mareike and Grenfell, John Lee and Schreier, Franz and Schneider, PC and Wilson, DJ and Sanchez Lopez, A and Lopez-Puertas, M and Rauer, H (2020) Distinguishing between Wet and Dry Atmospheres of TRAPPIST-1 e and f. Astrophysical Journal, 901 (2), 126_1-126_31. Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing. doi: 10.3847/1538-4357/aba59c. ISSN 0004-637X.

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Official URL: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/aba59c


The nearby TRAPPIST-1 planetary system is an exciting target for characterizing the atmospheres of terrestrial planets. The planets e, f, and g lie in the circumstellar habitable zone and could sustain liquid water on their surfaces. During the extended pre–main-sequence phase of TRAPPIST-1, however, the planets may have experienced extreme water loss, leading to a desiccated mantle. The presence or absence of an ocean is challenging to determine with current and next-generation telescopes. Therefore, we investigate whether indirect evidence of an ocean and/or a biosphere can be inferred from observations of the planetary atmosphere. We introduce a newly developed photochemical model for planetary atmospheres, coupled to a radiative-convective model, and validate it against modern Earth, Venus, and Mars. The coupled model is applied to the TRAPPIST-1 planets e and f, assuming different surface conditions and varying amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. As input for the model we use a constructed spectrum of TRAPPIST-1, based on near-simultaneous data from X-ray to optical wavelengths. We compute cloud-free transmission spectra of the planetary atmospheres and determine the detectability of molecular features using the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We find that under certain conditions the existence or nonexistence of a biosphere and/or an ocean can be inferred by combining 30 transit observations with ELT and JWST within the K band. A nondetection of CO could suggest the existence of an ocean, whereas significant CH4 hints at the presence of a biosphere.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/137171/
Document Type:Article
Title:Distinguishing between Wet and Dry Atmospheres of TRAPPIST-1 e and f
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Wunderlich, Fabianfabian.wunderlich (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Scheucher, Markusmarkus.scheucher (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Godolt, Mareikemareike.godolt (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Grenfell, John Leelee.grenfell (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schreier, Franzfranz.schreier (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7196-6599
Schneider, PCHamburger SternwarteUNSPECIFIED
Wilson, DJMcDonald Observatory, Uni. Texas at AustinUNSPECIFIED
Sanchez Lopez, AUni. LeidenUNSPECIFIED
Lopez-Puertas, MInstituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)UNSPECIFIED
Rauer, Hheike.rauer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Astrophysical Journal
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.3847/1538-4357/aba59c
Page Range:126_1-126_31
Publisher:Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing
Keywords:exoplanet; atmospheres; composition
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Planetary Evolution and Life (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof , Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres
Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Remote Sensing Technology Institute > Atmospheric Processors
Deposited By: Grenfell, John Lee
Deposited On:09 Nov 2020 15:11
Last Modified:24 Nov 2020 16:04

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