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Planet Characterization in the Solar System and the Galaxy Workshop

Purpose and Scope

The Planet Characterization in the Solar System and the Galaxy Workshop meeting is scheduled for February 21–23, 2024, in Houston, Texas at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI).

The diversity of planets and planetary types has exploded since the first discoveries of exoplanets and shows no signs of abating as the total population of known planets in our system and others has grown from 9 planets to over 5,000. We will convene to describe, discuss, and debate the various planet classification schemes. We consider the needs of both astrophysics and planetary science, geophysics, ocean worlds studies, atmospheric studies, magnetospheric studies, and more, with the goal of informed scientific debate, education, and progress toward consensus classification schemes.

Furthermore, taxonomy is an accessible entry point for the general public to learn deeper scientific principles and understand the importance of scientific debate. Therefore, the conveners believe this workshop will further inroads in STEAM engagement.


  • Taxonomy as a scientific tool in planetary science and beyond in history
  • Examples of taxonomy in adjacent fields and their application to planetary science
  • Classifications of exoplanets (e.g., super-Earth vs. sub-Neptune; hot Jupiter vs. brown dwarf)
  • How and why should exoplanets be grouped
  • How and why should Solar System planets be grouped (e.g., dwarf planets, giant planets, icy planets, terrestrial planets)?
  • The impact of taxonomy on public perception of science and the universe in which we live
  • Advantages and pitfalls of various existing classification schemes
  • The impact of taxonomy on public perception of science

Confirmed Speakers

Chris Bradburne
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Ravi Kumar Kopparapu
NASA Goddard
Jack Lissauer
Jean-Luc Margot
University of California, Los Angeles
Constance Martin-Trembley
Endeavour Middle School
Phil Metzger
University of Central Florida
Alan Stern
Southwest Research Institute
Mark Sykes
Planetary Science Institute

Code of Conduct

USRA/LPI is committed to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, religion, or other protected status. We do not tolerate harassment of meeting participants in any form. USRA/LPI expects that all participants will abide by this Code of Conduct, creating an environment free from harassment, discrimination, disruption, incivility, or violence of any kind. We expect participants to exercise consideration and respect in their speech and actions and refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior. Report issues, concerns, or violations of this Code of Conduct directly to USRA/LPI management at USRA-LPI Meetings Code of Conduct. The full USRA/LPI Code of Conduct can be found here.

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