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Introducing a Virtual Planet Simulator for Modeling Distant Worlds Across Time

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The VPLanets software package simulates multiple aspects of planetary evolution across billions of years.

University of Washington astrobiologist Rory Barnes and colleagues have created a software package that simulates multiple aspects of planetary evolution across billions of years.

Credit: PHL@UPR Arecibo/ ESA/Hubble, NASA

The University of Washington's Rory Barnes has developed software for modeling planetary evolution over time, with an overarching goal of locating potentially habitable worlds.

According to Barnes and colleagues, the VPLanet simulator is designed to model newly discovered exoplanets to measure their potential to support surface liquid water, simulate various planetary and star systems to gain knowledge about their characteristics and history, and facilitate transparent and open scientific research to assist the search for extraterrestrial life.

The first VPLanet iteration features modules for internal and magnetic evolution of planets, climate, atmospheric escape, tidal forces, orbital evolution, rotational effects, stellar evolution, planets orbiting binary stars, and gravitational perturbations from passing stars.

Barnes said, "This is a tool that allows us to ask: 'How do various properties of a planetary system evolve over time?'"

From UW News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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