Life, Electricity, Atmosphere, Planets – the LEAP-Project
Charge processes in planetary atmospheres have always sparked fear and fascination. Lightning is a natural phenomenon with which we – here on Earth – grow up, but do we understand what it is? If nature is universal, lightning and charge processes should also occur outside our solar system. Where? Only in planets? Maybe not. The desire to understand the physics of lightning and it’s impact on its environment drives the LEAP project. Exciting question touch upon fundamental physics, numerically challenging models, on Mars storms, planetary atmospheres and volcano outbreaks. The ever so most exciting question is of course about the role of lightning processes for the occurrence of life.
The European Research Council under FP7 Ideas has embarked by funding this project in fundamental astrophysics in challenging times by noting-in-passing “The only risk is not doing it.” We also thank the University of St Andrews for hosting this project in an extraordinary supportive and stimulating environment.