AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 3. Exoplanets, Dynamics and Earth
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Monroe/Lincoln

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[3.14] Solar UV Radiation and the Origin of Life on Earth

S. R. Heap (NASA's GSFC), E. Gaidos (U. Hawaii), I. Hubeny (NOAO & GSFC), T. M. Lanz (U. MD & GSFC)

We have embarked on a program aimed at understanding the atmosphere of the early Earth, because of its importance as a greenhouse, radiation shield, and energy source for life. Here, we give a progress report on the first phase of this program: to establish the UV radiation from the early Sun.

We are presently obtaining ultraviolet spectra (STIS, FUSE, EUVE) of carefully selected nearby, young solar-type stars, which act as surrogates for the early Sun. We are currently making detailed non-LTE analyses of the spectra and constructing models of their photospheres + chromospheres. Once validated, these models will allow us to extrapolate our theoretical spectra to unobserved spectral regions, and to proceed to the next step: to develop photochemical models of the pre-biotic and Archean atmosphere of the Earth.

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