On August 7, 2014, high school students from Niigata prefectural Niigata Minami High School visited ELSI. In the morning, Hidenori Genda gave them a lecture titled "Planets in the Solar System and exoplanets." After the lunch, Jun Kimura gave a lecture titled "Ocean under ice: Prospects for extra-terrestrial biosphere." Students raised the many questions for example how to discover the Bio-planets outside of the earth, and how to survey inside of the moons.
Hidenori Genda Associate Professor
Research Interest:My research interest is the origins of the characteristics of planets. I have researched to clarify how the characteristics of planets formed and evolved. For example, there is a different in size among the planets in our solar system, and the atmospheric composition and amount of the Earth are totally different from those of Venus despite the similarity of their planetary size. Moreover, the Earth has the ocean, and life emerged and evolved on it. My research goal is to understand how these characteristics formed. Recently, many planets beyond our solar system have been discovered. The variety of these exoplanets is found to be wider than that of the planets in our solar system. We are now at the stage of being able to understand what is the uniqueness or universality in the Earth.
My research approach is a blend of theory and computer simulation. It is impossible that we include all the processes hidden in nature into theory or computer simulation. Therefore, the most important thing is to extract the important processes from the nature. It is important to daily discuss with researchers who are in various research fields and approaches. ELSI is the best place where I can do so. Here I will do my best to answer the ultimate question "Why did life emerge and evolve?"
Jun Kimura Research Scientist
Field:Planetary geology, geophysics, and planetary exploration
Research Interests:I have been studying the surface tectonics and interior structure of the icy satellites which belong to giant planets using comuputer simulation and observational image analysis, in particular.
In addition, interior evolution of terrestrial moon is also my interest in a viewpoint of comparative understandings between icy bodies and rocky planets.
Ultimately, I'd like to explain how planets and satellites have evolved to the current states and how the planets and the satellites diverged on their evolution.
I participated in the satellite project, SELENE/KAGUYA, Japanese lunar misison from 2007 to 2009. Now I'm a member of LIDAR (Laser Altimeter) team on HAYABUSA-2 mission which will be launched to C-type asteroid 1999JU3 in 2014, and GALA (Ganymede Laser Altimeter) team on JUICE mission which will be launched to Jupiter system in 2022.
As the member of ELSI, I particularly focuses on the habitability of the icy satellites and the exo-icy planets/moons to provide some important constraints on the thermal/structural evolution and chemical composition of the subsurface ocean if exists, which are essentially important to understand a different style of biosphere from the Earth.