Learn More
LOFAR, the LOw-Frequency ARray, is a new-generation radio interferometer constructed in the north of the Netherlands and across europe. Utilizing a novel phased-array design, LOFAR covers the largely unexplored low-frequency range from 10–240 MHz and provides a number of unique observing capabilities. Spreading out from a core located near the village of(More)
We discuss how to read a planet's spectrum to assess its habitability and search for the signatures of a biosphere. After a decade rich in giant exoplanet detections, observation techniques have advanced to a level where we now have the capability to find planets of less than 10 Earth masses (M(Earth)) (so-called "super Earths"), which may be habitable. How(More)
After Earth's origin, our host star, the Sun, was shining 20-25% less brightly than today. Without greenhouse-like conditions to warm the atmosphere, our early planet would have been an ice ball, and life may never have evolved. But life did evolve, which indicates that greenhouse gases must have been present on early Earth to warm the planet. Evidence from(More)
The evolution of Earth-like habitable planets is a complex process that depends on the geodynamical and geophysical environments. In particular, it is necessary that plate tectonics remain active over billions of years. These geophysically active environments are strongly coupled to a planet's host star parameters, such as mass, luminosity and activity,(More)
The ultimate goal of terrestrial planet-finding missions is not only to discover terrestrial exoplanets inside the habitable zone (HZ) of their host stars but also to address the major question as to whether life may have evolved on a habitable Earth-like exoplanet outside our Solar System. We note that the chemical evolution that finally led to the origin(More)
To estimate the occurrence of terrestrial exoplanets and maximize the chance of finding them, it is crucial to understand the formation of planetary systems in general and that of terrestrial planets in particular. We show that a reliable formation theory should not only explain the formation of the Solar System, with small terrestrial planets within a few(More)
LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array, is a large radio telescope consisting of approximately 100 soccer-field sized antenna stations spread over a region of 400 km in diameter. It will operate at frequencies from ∼ 10 to 240 MHz, with a resolution at 240 MHz of better than an arcsecond. Its superb sensitivity will allow for studies of a broad range of(More)
The problem of the stability of planetary systems, a question that concerns only multiplanetary systems that host at least two planets, is discussed. The problem of mean motion resonances is addressed prior to discussion of the dynamical structure of the more than 350 known planets. The difference with regard to our own Solar System with eight planets on(More)
The European Space Agency and other space agencies such as NASA recognize that the question with regard to life beyond Earth in general, and the associated issue of the existence and study of exoplanets in particular, is of paramount importance for the 21(st) century. The new Cosmic Vision science plan, Cosmic Vision 2015-2025, which is built around four(More)