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Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 319–325 | Cite as

A Maximum Radius for Habitable Planets

  • Yann AlibertEmail author
ELSI SYMPOSIUM

Abstract

We compute the maximum radius a planet can have in order to fulfill two constraints that are likely necessary conditions for habitability: 1- surface temperature and pressure compatible with the existence of liquid water, and 2- no ice layer at the bottom of a putative global ocean, that would prevent the operation of the geologic carbon cycle to operate. We demonstrate that, above a given radius, these two constraints cannot be met: in the Super-Earth mass range (1–12 Mearth), the overall maximum that a planet can have varies between 1.8 and 2.3 Rearth. This radius is reduced when considering planets with higher Fe/Si ratios, and taking into account irradiation effects on the structure of the gas envelope.

Keywords

Planet structure Habitability Planet composition 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the European Research Council under grant 239605

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Space and Habitability, Physikalisches InstitutUniversität BernBernSwitzerland

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