This talk will describe the long-term evolution of the Sun as a main-sequence star, then as a red-giant and asymptotic giant branch star, and the implications for life on Earth and other planets and moons of the solar system as the Sun evolves.
Ian Crawford is Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London. His research mostly lies in the field space exploration, especially lunar exploration, which includes both the remote sensing of the lunar surface and the laboratory analysis of lunar samples.
His other field of research is the new science of astrobiology; the study of the astronomical and planetary context of the origin and evolution of life, and what this tells us about the likely prevalence of life elsewhere in the Universe. In particular, his group is studying ‘extreme’ environments on Earth, notably in Iceland, which may be analogous to past or present habitable environments on Mars. This research work was born from an earlier 15-year career in observational astronomy, where he conducted studies of the interstellar medium (i.e. the gas and dust between the stars from which new stars and planets ultimately form), and also circumstellar disks of the kind thought to be planetary systems in an early stage of formation. Ian was also a member of the UK Space Exploration Working Group in 2007, which recommended increased UK involvement in global space exploration. In addition to its obvious scientific importance, he believes that an ambitious human space programme will offer significant social and cultural advantages.