Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Habitability Models for Planetary Sciences

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
July 12, 2020
Filed under
Habitability Models for Planetary Sciences
Habitable planet

Habitability has been generally defined as the capability of an environment to support life. Ecologists have been using Habitat Suitability Models (HSMs) for more than four decades to study the habitability of Earth from local to global scales.

Astrobiologists have been proposing different habitability models for some time, with little integration and consistency between them and different in function to those used by ecologists. In this white paper, we suggest a mass-energy habitability model as an example of how to adapt and expand the models used by ecologists to the astrobiology field. We propose to implement these models into a NASA Habitability Standard (NHS) to standardize the habitability objectives of planetary missions.

These standards will help to compare and characterize potentially habitable environments, prioritize target selections, and study correlations between habitability and biosignatures. Habitability models are the foundation of planetary habitability science. The synergy between the methods used by ecologists and astrobiologists will help to integrate and expand our understanding of the habitability of Earth, the Solar System, and exoplanets.

Abel Méndez, Edgard G. Rivera-Valentín, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Justin Filiberto, Ramses Ramírez, Tana E. Wood, Alfonso Dávila, Chris McKay, Kevin Ortiz Ceballos, Marcos Jusino-Maldonado, Guillermo Nery, René Heller, Paul Byrne, Michael J. Malaska, Erica Nathan, Marta Filipa Simões, André Antunes, Jesús Martínez-Frías, Ludmila Carone, Noam R. Izenberg, Dimitra Atri, Humberto Itic Carvajal Chitty, Priscilla Nowajewski-Barra, Frances Rivera-Hernández, Corine Brown, Kennda Lynch, Howard Chen, Grizelle González, Madhu Kashyap Jagadeesh, Jorge Zuluaga, Charles S. Cockell, Jacob Haqq-Misra, Rory Barnes

Comments: White Paper for the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2007.05491 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2007.05491v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Abel Mendez
[v1] Fri, 10 Jul 2020 17:20:18 UTC (539 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) 🖖🏻