Accueil > Publications > Recherche par années > Années 2000 > 2007

Nisbet, E ; Zahnle, K ; Gerasimov, MV ; Helbert, J ; Jaumann, R ; Hofmann, BA ; Benzerara, K ; Westall, F

Creating habitable zones, at all scales, from planets to mud micro-habitats, on earth and on mars

Space Science Reviews 129 (1-3) 79-121

par Administrateur - publié le

Abstract :

The factors that create a habitable planet are considered at all scales, from planetary inventories to micro-habitats in soft sediments and intangibles such as habitat linkage. The possibility of habitability first comes about during accretion, as a product of the processes of impact and volatile inventory history. To create habitability water is essential, not only for life but to aid the continual tectonic reworking and erosion that supply key redox contrasts and biochemical substrates to sustain habitability. Mud or soft sediment may be a biochemical prerequisite, to provide accessible substrate and protection. Once life begins, the habitat is widened by the activity of life, both by its management of the greenhouse and by partitioning reductants (e.g. dead organic matter) and oxidants (including waste products). Potential Martian habitats are discussed : by comparison with Earth there are many potential environmental settings on Mars in which life may once have occurred, or may even continue to exist. The long-term evolution of habitability in the Solar System is considered.