Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Characterizing Exoplanet Habitability

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
November 11, 2019
Filed under
Characterizing Exoplanet Habitability
Habitable planet

Habitability is a measure of an environment’s potential to support life, and a habitable exoplanet supports liquid water on its surface.

However, a planet’s success in maintaining liquid water on its surface is the end result of a complex set of interactions between planetary, stellar, planetary system and even Galactic characteristics and processes, operating over the planet’s lifetime. In this chapter, we describe how we can now determine which exoplanets are most likely to be terrestrial, and the research needed to help define the habitable zone under different assumptions and planetary conditions.

We then move beyond the habitable zone concept to explore a new framework that looks at far more characteristics and processes, and provide a comprehensive survey of their impacts on a planet’s ability to acquire and maintain habitability over time. We are now entering an exciting era of terrestiral exoplanet atmospheric characterization, where initial observations to characterize planetary composition and constrain atmospheres is already underway, with more powerful observing capabilities planned for the near and far future. Understanding the processes that affect the habitability of a planet will guide us in discovering habitable, and potentially inhabited, planets.

Ravi kumar Kopparapu, Eric T. Wolf, Victoria S. Meadows
(Submitted on 11 Nov 2019)

Comments: Book chapter for “Planetary Astrobiology” (Space science series)
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1911.04441 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1911.04441v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Ravi Kumar Kopparapu
[v1] Mon, 11 Nov 2019 18:36:28 UTC (11,503 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻