The Fundamental Connections between the Solar System and Exoplanetary Science

Stephen R. Kane, Giada N. Arney, Paul K. Byrne, Paul A. Dalba, Steven J. Desch, Jonti Horner, Noam R. Izenberg, Kathleen E. Mandt, Victoria S. Meadows, Lynnae C. Quick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Over the past several decades, thousands of planets have been discovered outside our Solar System. These planets exhibit enormous diversity, and their large numbers provide a statistical opportunity to place our Solar System within the broader context of planetary structure, atmospheres, architectures, formation, and evolution. Meanwhile, the field of exoplanetary science is rapidly forging onward toward a goal of atmospheric characterization, inferring surface conditions and interiors, and assessing the potential for habitability. However, the interpretation of exoplanet data requires the development and validation of exoplanet models that depend on in situ data that, in the foreseeable future, are only obtainable from our Solar System. Thus, planetary and exoplanetary science would both greatly benefit from a symbiotic relationship with a two-way flow of information. Here, we describe the critical lessons and outstanding questions from planetary science, the study of which are essential for addressing fundamental aspects for a variety of exoplanetary topics. We outline these lessons and questions for the major categories of Solar System bodies, including the terrestrial planets, the giant planets, moons, and minor bodies. We provide a discussion of how many of these planetary science issues may be translated into exoplanet observables that will yield critical insight into current and future exoplanet discoveries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JE006643
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Solar System
  • exoplanets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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