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Widen the Belt of Habitability!

Möhlmann, D. (2012) Widen the Belt of Habitability! Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 42 (2-3), pp. 93-100. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/s11084-012-9278-1 ISSN 0169-6149

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Abstract

Among the key-parameters to characterize habitability are presence or availability of liquid water, an appropriate temperature range, and the time scale of reference. These criteria for habitability are discussed and described from the point of view of water- and ice-physics, and it is shown that liquid water may exist in the sub-surfaces of planetary bodies like Mars, and possibly of inner asteroids and internally heated ice-moons. Water can remain fluid there also at temperatures far below the “canonical” 0 °C. This behaviour is made possible as a consequence of the freezing point depression due to salty solutes in water or “brines”, as they can be expected to exist in nature more frequently than pure liquid water. On the other hand, low temperatures cause a slowing down of chemical processes, as can be described by Arrhenius’s relation. The resulting smaller reaction rates probably will have the consequence to complicate the detection of low-temperature life processes, if they exist. Furthermore, the adaptation potential of life is to be mentioned in this context as a yet partially unknown process. Resulting recommendations are given to improve the use of criteria to characterize habitable conditions.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/76297/
Document Type:Article
Title:Widen the Belt of Habitability!
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Möhlmann, D.dirk.moehlmann (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:2012
Journal or Publication Title:Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:42
DOI :10.1007/s11084-012-9278-1
Page Range:pp. 93-100
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0169-6149
Status:Published
Keywords:Liquid water, interfacial water, brines, life at low temperatures, habitability
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Exploration des Sonnensystems (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research
Deposited By: Pieth, Susanne
Deposited On:09 Jul 2012 14:23
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:29

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