A Comprehensive Understanding of Planet Formation is Required for Assessing Planetary Habitability and for the Search for Life


Habitable planet

Dozens of habitable zone, approximately earth-sized exoplanets are known today.

An emerging frontier of exoplanet studies is identifying which of these habitable zone, small planets are actually habitable (have all necessary conditions for life) and, of those, which are earth-like. Many parameters and processes influence habitability, ranging from the orbit through detailed composition including volatiles and organics, to the presence of geological activity and plate tectonics. While some properties will soon be directly observable, others cannot be probed by remote sensing for the foreseeable future.

Thus, statistical understanding of planetary systems' formation and evolution is a key supplement to the direct measurements of planet properties. Probabilistically assessing parameters we cannot directly measure is essential to reliably assess habitability, to prioritizing habitable-zone planets for follow-up, and for interpreting possible biosignatures.

Dániel Apai, Fred Ciesla, Gijs D. Mulders, Ilaria Pascucci, Richard Barry, Klaus Pontoppidan, Edwin Bergin, Alex Bixel, Sean Brittain, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, Yasuhiro Hasegawa, Hannah Jang-Condell, Renu Malhotra, Michael R. Meyer, Andrew Youdin, Johanna Teske, Neal Turner
(Submitted on 23 Mar 2018)

Comments: White paper submitted to the NAS Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1803.08682 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1803.08682v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Daniel Apai Dr
[v1] Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:16:04 GMT (26kb)

Please follow Astrobiology on Twitter.

  • submit to reddit