Habitable Zones & Global Climate: November 2013

The biosignatures of life on Earth do not remain static, but change considerably over the planet's habitable lifetime.

Rain as acidic as undiluted lemon juice may have played a part in killing off plants and organisms around the world during the most severe mass extinction in Earth's history.

An international team of researchers led by Ralf Tappert, University of Innsbruck, reconstructed the composition of the Earth's atmosphere of the last 220 million years by analyzing modern and fossil plant resins.

What kind of environment may exist on terrestrial planets around other stars? In spite of the lack of direct observations, it may not be premature to speculate on exoplanetary climates, for instance to optimize future telescopic observations, or to assess the probability of habitable worlds.

The conditions that a planet must fulfill to be habitable are not precisely known. However, it is comparatively easier to define conditions under which a planet is very likely not habitable.

The Kepler space telescope has detected transits of objects as small as the Earth's Moon, and moons as small as 0.2 Earth masses can be detected in the Kepler data by transit timing and transit duration variations of their host planets.

he proportions of oxygen, carbon and major rock-forming elements (e.g. Mg, Fe, Si) determine a planet's dominant mineralogy. Variation in a planet's mineralogy subsequently affects planetary mantle dynamics as well as any deep water or carbon cycle.