Habitable Zones in the Universe
Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres
September 1, 2005
Abstract: Habitability varies dramatically with location and time in the universe. This was recognized centuries ago, but it was only in the last few decades that astronomers began to systematize the study of habitability. The introduction of the concept of the habitable zone was key to progress in this area. The habitable zone concept was first applied to the space around a star, now called the Circumstellar Habitable Zone. Recently, other, vastly broader, habitable zones have been proposed. We review the historical development of the concept of habitable zones and the present state of the research. We also suggest ways to make progress on each of the habitable zones and to unify them into a single concept encompassing the entire universe.