Water and habitable zone

The existence of liquid water, and to a lesser extent its gaseous and solid forms, on Earth are vital to the existence of life on Earth as we know it. The Earth is located in the habitable zone of the solar system; if it were slightly closer to or farther from the Sun (about 5%, or about 8 million kilometers), the conditions which allow the three forms to be present simultaneously would be far less likely to exist.[30][31] Earth's gravity allows it to hold an atmosphere. Water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere provide a temperature buffer (greenhouse effect) which helps maintain a relatively steady surface temperature. If Earth were smaller, a thinner atmosphere would allow temperature extremes, thus preventing the accumulation of water except in polar ice caps (as on Mars). The surface temperature of Earth has been relatively constant through geologic time despite varying levels of incoming solar radiation (insolation), indicating that a dynamic process governs Earth's temperature via a combination of greenhouse gases and surface or atmospheric albedo. This proposal is known as the Gaia hypothesis. The state of water on a planet depends on ambient pressure, which is determined by the planet's gravity. If a planet is sufficiently massive, the water on it may be solid even at high temperatures, because of the high pressure caused by gravity, as it was observed on exoplanets Gliese 436 b[32] and GJ 1214 b.[33] There are various theories about origin of water on Earth. In astronomy and astrobiology, habitable zone (more accurately, circumstellar habitable zone or CHZ) is the scientific term for the region around a star within which it is theoretically possible for a planet with sufficient atmospheric pressure to maintain liquid water on its surface.[1]1 The significance of the concept is in its inferen e of conditions favorable for life on Earth Ц since liquid water is essential for all known forms of life, planets in this zone are considered the most promising sites to host extraterrestrial life. The terms "ecosphere" and "Liquid Water Belt" were introduced by Hubertus Strughold and Harlow Shapley respectively in 1953.[2] Contemporary alternatives include "HZ", "life zone", and "Goldilocks Zone".[3] "Habitable zone" is sometimes used more generally to denote various regions that are considered favorable to life in some way. One prominent example is the Galactic Habitable Zone, coined by Guillermo Gonzalez in 1995 (representing the distance of a planet from the galactic centre), based on the position of the Earth in the Milky Way. If different kinds of habitable zones are considered, their intersection is the region considered most likely to contain life. The location of planets and natural satellites (moons) within its parent star's habitable zone (and a near circular orbit) is but one of many criteria for planetary habitability and it is theoretically possible for habitable planets to exist outside the habitable zone. The term "Goldilocks planet" is used for any planet that is located within the circumstellar habitable zone (CHZ)[4][5] although when used in the context of planetary habitability the term implies terrestrial planets with conditions roughly comparable to those of Earth (i.e. an Earth analog). The name originates from the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in which a little girl chooses from sets of three items, ignoring the ones that are too extreme (large or small, hot or cold, etc.), and settling on the one in the middle, which is "just right". Likewise, a planet following this Goldilocks Principle is one neither too close nor too far from a star to rule out liquid water on its surface.