Among the billions of potential planetary systems in our galaxy, only Earth is currently known to host life. Understanding how planets like Earth formed and evolved is fundamental to answering one of the greatest unsolved questions in science: Are we alone in the Universe? As Canada Research Chair in Exoplanet Astrophysics, Dr. Jason Rowe is trying to answer this question.
There is now concrete evidence that there are more planets in the galaxy than stars. Rowe and his research team are discovering and characterizing a large sample of exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system) to understand the origins of diversity in the basic properties of planets, including mass, radius, density and atmosphere. They are supporting several space missions and using instrumentation, observations and interpretation to figure out how Earth-like planets form.