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Habitable Zones in the Universe

Read PDF at Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

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.

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Guillermo Gonzalez

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Guillermo Gonzalez is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1993 from the University of Washington. He has done post-doctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin and at the University of Washington and has received fellowships, grants and awards from such institutions as NASA, the University of Washington, the Templeton Foundation, Sigma Xi (scientific research society) and the National Science Foundation.