EAS Publications Series
Volume 33, 20082nd ARENA Conference: The Astrophysical Science Cases at Dome C
|Page(s)||275 - 278|
|Published online||13 November 2008|
H. Zinnecker, N. Epchtein and H. Rauer (eds)
EAS Publications Series, 33 (2008) 275-278
The habitability of super-Earths
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 601203, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
2 University of Texas at Arlington, PO Box 19059, Arlington, TX 76019, USA
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The unexpected diversity of exoplanets includes a growing number of super Earth-planets, i.e. exoplanets with masses smaller than 10 Earth masses and a similar chemical and mineralogical composition like Earth. We present a thermal evolution model for a super-Earth to calculate the sources and sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The photosynthesis-sustaining habitable zone (pHZ) is determined by the limits of biological productivity on the planetary surface. We apply the model to calculate the habitability of super-Earths in Gliese 581. The super-Earth Gl 581c is clearly outside the pHZ while Gl 581d at the outer edge of the pHZ could at least harbor some primitive life forms.
© EAS, EDP Sciences, 2008
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