Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 545–552 | Cite as

Development of a Model to Compute the Extension of Life Supporting Zones for Earth-Like Exoplanets

  • David NeubauerEmail author
  • Aron Vrtala
  • Johannes J. Leitner
  • Maria G. Firneis
  • Regina Hitzenberger


A radiative convective model to calculate the width and the location of the life supporting zone (LSZ) for different, alternative solvents (i.e. other than water) is presented. This model can be applied to the atmospheres of the terrestrial planets in the solar system as well as (hypothetical, Earth-like) terrestrial exoplanets. Cloud droplet formation and growth are investigated using a cloud parcel model. Clouds can be incorporated into the radiative transfer calculations. Test runs for Earth, Mars and Titan show a good agreement of model results with observations.


Life supporting zone Habitable zone Radiative convective model Cloud parcel model 



This work was performed within the research platform on ExoLife. We acknowledge financial funding from the University of Vienna, FPL 234, We thank the Rax 2000 field team for the aerosol data and Michael Hantel (University of Vienna), Nilton Renno (University of Michigan), Helmut Lammer (Austrian Academy of Sciences) for discussions and Warren Wiscombe (Goddard Space Flight Center) for the ESFT program. D. Neubauer gratefully acknowledges the support by research fellowship F-369, University of Vienna. The computational results presented have been achieved in part using the Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC). We would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for the helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Neubauer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aron Vrtala
    • 2
  • Johannes J. Leitner
    • 1
  • Maria G. Firneis
    • 3
  • Regina Hitzenberger
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Platform: ExoLifeUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Aerosol Physics and Environmental Physics Group, Faculty of PhysicsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Institute of AstronomyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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