Dynamical Aspects for the Earth’s Habitability

  • Elke Pilat-Lohinger
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 24)


Discoveries of more than 560 extrasolar planets show a huge diversity of these planetary systems. Most of the extrasolar planetary systems are quite different to our solar system, only some of them indicate similarities with our system. By now, no other system than ours is known to host a habitable planet like the Earth. Assuming that solar system-like configurations are the most favorable ones where a habitable Earth might exist, we show the influence of the architecture of the planetary system on the habitability. The dynamics in the Solar System is certainly dominated by the two giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. Since it is more likely to find two planets with similar characteristics in a system than a clone of the Jupiter–Saturn pair of our Solar System, we vary the mass ratio of the two planets and their mutual distance. For the different configurations, we study the influence on test bodies (with negligible mass) moving in the habitable zone (HZ). In this chapter, we will discuss the dynamics of various configurations and illustrate some cases which would influence the habitability of the Earth significantly.


Solar System Planetary System Semimajor Axis Giant Planet Terrestrial Planet 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was carried out in the framework of project P19569- N16 supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of AstronomyUniversity of ViennaWienAustria

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