Archives

Habitable Zones & Global Climate: April 2018


The water content of magma oceans is widely accepted as a key factor that determines whether a terrestrial planet is habitable. Water ocean mass is determined as a result not only of water delivery and loss, but also of water partitioning among several reservoirs.

Up until about ten years ago, scientists thought they had a pretty good picture of how the moon and Earth came to co-exist. Then more precise measurements blew it all wide open, and scientists are still struggling to reconcile them.

The presence of giant planets influences potentially habitable worlds in numerous ways. Massive celestial neighbors can facilitate the formation of planetary cores and modify the influx of asteroids and comets towards Earth-analogs later on.

Theories about the early days of our planet's history vary wildly. Some studies have painted the picture of a snowball Earth, when much of its surface was frozen. Other theories have included periods that would be inhospitably hot for most current lifeforms to survive.