Origin and co-evolution of earth-like planets and life

The Earth is currently the only place where life is known to exist. Wouldn't it be great if we found other planets on which life exists? Techniques are available to answer that question over the next decades.

Origin and co-evolution of earth-like planets and life

The current opinion of researchers is that life has arisen rapidly within the first billion years after the formation of the planet. Understanding the interaction between life and planet Earth will make it easier to search for life on other planets. 

Complex and intelligent life is the result of a long history of biological evolution which has led to an interplay with terrestrial processes throughout geological history. But to what extent is the Earth comparable to potentially habitable planets elsewhere in the universe? In order to get a complete picture of the co-evolution of the Earth and life and their interdependence, cooperation is needed. Various disciplines work together, including astronomy, astrobiology, (micro)biology, (prebiotic) chemistry and the Earth and planetary sciences. 

In this Knowledge Network we work on three important themes on the interface between planetary and biological evolution:

1. Determining the starting point for life on Earth. Here, we investigate the formation of the Earth, as well as the sources of organic molecules in an inanimate environment. In addition, we try to show that life can begin with a mixture of inanimate ingredients.

2. Identifying the earliest life forms and their specific metabolism. 3.Determining large-scale relationships between living nature, the atmosphere, the oceans, the water cycle and the rocks throughout geological history to the present day. 

Origins Center Networks


Inga Kamp

Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen

Inga Kamp

Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen



Fields of interest:

I like to understand how planets form from the disks of gas and dust around young stars. My focus within the ORIGINS centre is on connecting the chemical composition of the disk to that of the building blocks of planets and eventually the planets themselves. I do this by observing the gas, ice and dust component  in planet forming disks and combining this with radiation thermo-chemical disk models to interpret observational data. From there, I extrapolate to the ongoing planet forming processes in the mid plane of these disks that are often "hidden to direct astronomical observations".

formation of planetary systems


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