Chapter 6. Habitability

  1. Dr. Gerda Horneck and
  2. Dr. Petra Rettberg
  1. Charles S. Cockell

Published Online: 7 FEB 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527618996.ch6

Complete Course in Astrobiology

Complete Course in Astrobiology

How to Cite

Cockell, C. S. (2007) Habitability, in Complete Course in Astrobiology (eds G. Horneck and P. Rettberg), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527618996.ch6

Editor Information

  1. DLR, Inst. of Aerospace Medicine, Linder Höhe, 51147 Köln, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 FEB 2008
  2. Published Print: 23 FEB 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527406609

Online ISBN: 9783527618996



  • astrobiology;
  • habitability;
  • assessment of habitability;
  • determining habitability;
  • uninhabited habitable worlds;
  • test cases for habitability


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • A Brief History of the Assessment of Habitability

  • What Determines Habitability?

  • Uninhabited Habitable Worlds

  • Factors Determining Habitability

    • Habitability and Temperature

    • Habitability and Energy

    • Other Factors that Determine Habitability

  • A Postulate for Habitability

    • Assumptions about the Habitat

    • Assumptions on Life

    • Attempt to Formulate a Habitability Postulate

  • Some Test Cases for Habitability

    • Test Case One: Life on Venus

    • Test Case Two: Life on the Early Earth

    • Résumé of the Two Test Cases

  • Conclusions

  • Further Reading

    • Books and Articles in Books

    • Articles in Journals

  • Questions for Students