Astrobiology: Future Perspectives

Volume 305 of the series Astrophysics and Space Science Library pp 67-96

Planet Formation

Towards Estimating Galactic Habitability
  • G. WuchterlAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial Physics

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The present census of the galactic planetary population shows that planets exist outside the Solar System. But the empirical evidence is still insufficientt estimate the overall preconditions for the diversity and abundance of habitats that planets may provide in our galaxy. Detecting planets is still centered around giant planets in orbits with periods comparable and less than Jupiter’s around nearby solar like stars. For a global picture, a general understanding of the planet formation process is needed to extrapolate what is known from the Solar System and about extrasolar planets to other stellar types and environments in the galaxy. A predictive theory of planet formation may contribute to this task.