Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Habitability Models for Astrobiology

By Keith Cowing
August 13, 2021
Filed under
Habitability Models for Astrobiology

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 among them, being different in function to those used by ecologists. Habitability models are not only used to determine if environments are habitable or not, but they also are used to characterize what key factors are responsible for the gradual transition from low to high habitability states. Here we review and compare some of the different models used by ecologists and astrobiologists and suggest how they could be integrated into new habitability standards.

Such standards will help to improve the comparison and characterization of potentially habitable environments, prioritize target selections, and study correlations between habitability and biosignatures. Habitability models are the foundation of planetary habitability science and the synergy between ecologists and astrobiologists is necessary to expand our understanding of the habitability of Earth, the Solar System, and extrasolar planets.

Abel Méndez, Edgard E. Rivera-Valentín, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Justin Filiberto, Ramses M. Ramírez, Tana Wood, Alfonso Dávila, Chris McKay, Kevin N. Ortiz Ceballos, Marcos Jusino-Maldonado, Nicole J. Torres-Santiago, Guillermo Nery, René Heller, Paul K. Byrne, Michael J. Malaska, Erica Nathan, Marta F. Simões, André Antunes, Jesús Martínez-Frías, Ludmila Carone, Noam R. Izenberg, Dimitra Atri, Humberto I. Carvajal Chitty, Priscilla Nowajewski-Barra, Frances Rivera-Hernández, Corine Brown, Kennda Lynch, David Catling, Jorge I. Zuluaga, Juan F. Salazar, Howard Chen, Grizelle González, Madhu Kashyap Jagadeesh, Jacob Haqq-Misra

Comments: Published in Astrobiology, 21(8)
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Quantitative Methods (q-bio.QM)
DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2342
Cite as: arXiv:2108.05417 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2108.05417v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Abel Mendez
[v1] Wed, 11 Aug 2021 19:09:25 UTC (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) 🖖🏻