‘Goldilocks zone’ may not be a good metric for whether life exists on exoplanets, say astrobiologists
Most exoplanets lying in the habitable zones around stars are in fact inhospitable to plant life as we know it. That is according to a new study from microbiologists and astronomers at the University of Georgia who say that taking into account the light a planet receives as well as its ability to hold liquid water is a better definition of whether life could exist on other planets.
The Habitable Zone (HZ) is traditionally defined to be the range of distances around a star where an exoplanet can support liquid water on its surface. Too far, and the planet remains frozen like Mars. Too close and the oceans evaporate, as happened to Venus. The zone in the middle is neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right – the so-called “Goldilocks zone”.