Determining habitability: which exoEarths should we search for life?

Horner, J. and Jones, B. W. (2010) Determining habitability: which exoEarths should we search for life? International Journal of Astrobiology, 9 (4). pp. 273-291. ISSN 1473-5504

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Abstract

Within the next few years, the first Earth-mass planets will be discovered around other stars. Some of those worlds will certainly lie within the classical 'habitable zone' of their parent stars, and we will quickly move from knowing of no exoEarths to knowing many. For the first time, we will be in a position to carry out a detailed search for the first evidence of life beyond our Solar System. However, such observations will be hugely taxing and time consuming to perform, and it is almost certain that far more potentially habitable worlds will be known than it is possible to study. It is therefore important to catalogue and consider the various effects that make a promising planet more or less suitable for the development of life. In this work, we review the various planetary, dynamical and stellar influences that could influence the habitability of exoEarths. The various influences must be taken in concert when we attempt to decide where to focus our first detailed search for life. While there is no guarantee that any given planet will be inhabited, it is vitally important to ensure that we focus our time and effort on those planets most likely to yield a positive result.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2010 Cambridge University Press. This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source. Special issue Papers from the Astrobiology Society of Britain Conference 2010
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2014 23:00
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2014 05:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: life; exoplanets; planets; water; tectonics; impacts; comets; asteroids; climate
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020108 Planetary Science (excl. Extraterrestrial Geology)
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020109 Space and Solar Physics
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020104 Galactic Astronomy
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020107 Mesospheric, Ionospheric and Magnetospheric Physics
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020101 Astrobiology
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960201 Atmospheric Composition (incl. Greenhouse Gas Inventory)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1017/S1473550410000261
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25566

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