The Habitability of Planets Orbiting M Dwarfs - Victoria Meadows (University of Washington)
Recently discovered planets orbiting nearby M dwarfs will provide intriguing near-term targets for JWST and ground-based telescopes, and an exciting window into the evolution and nature of terrestrial planets. M dwarfs, although plentiful, undergo strong evolution in stellar brightness when they are young, and have main sequence habitable zones that are extremely close to the star. These factors enhance star-planet interactions, drive planetary evolutionary processes different to those experienced by our Earth, and potentially produce false positives for life. To support upcoming observations, I will describe interdisciplinary modeling undertaken by the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory team to explore the possible evolutionary scenarios, current climate states and anticipated observational features for M dwarf habitable zone planets.