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Commentary: The habitability mantra: Hunting the Snark

Stevenson, David J. (2018) Commentary: The habitability mantra: Hunting the Snark. Physics Today, 71 (11). pp. 10-12. ISSN 0031-9228. doi:10.1063/PT.3.4054.

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The origin of life and the existence of extraterrestrial life are among the most important scientific puzzles of our time. Humans have embarked on a great quest, the discovery of extraterrestrial life: We are seeking the Snark. The work of characterizing celestial bodies within our solar system and beyond contributes toward solving the puzzle, and future astronomical observations of exoplanets are also essential. However, in promoting those efforts or the choice of targets, excessive emphasis on habitability is bad science policy: It presumes a greater understanding of the concept than we currently possess, and it may fail to recognize the extraordinary diversity of planetary environments.

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Stevenson, David J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 2018 American Institute of Physics.
Group:Astronomy Department
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181126-085701240
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:91152
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Nov 2018 17:39
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 03:38

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