PerspectivePlanetary Science

What makes a planet habitable?

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Science  03 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6439, pp. 434-435
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw4326

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  • RE: What makes a planet habitable?

    While the article is an interesting addition to the issue of habitability it remains frustratingly vague. The key concept for life is evolution, as effectively this is the metric to which life is defined.

    While most of the discourse on habitability remains fixed on the concept of circumstellar habitable zones, the overlooked concept is the niche. When one considers the potential for life to move beyond a few rare microbial species to something more "impressive" one needs to look at the kinds of niche a planet provides. This is where the consideration of geophysics and atmospheric modelling really matters. By applying the quantitative data from these analyses and considerations of planetary (geophysical) evolution we can progress.

    Competing Interests: None declared.