Tidal heating of terrestrial extrasolar planets and implications for their habitability

Brian Jackson, Rory Barnes, Richard J. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The tidal heating of hypothetical rocky (or terrestrial) extrasolar planets spans a wide range of values depending on stellar masses and initial orbits. Tidal heating may be sufficiently large (in many cases, in excess of radiogenic heating) and long-lived to drive plate tectonics, similar to the Earth's, which may enhance the planet's habitability. In other cases, excessive tidal heating may result in Io-like planets with violent volcanism, probably rendering them unsuitable for life. On water-rich planets, tidal heating may generate subsurface oceans analogous to Europa's with similar prospects for habitability. Tidal heating may enhance the outgassing of volatiles, contributing to the formation and replenishment of a planet's atmosphere. To address these issues, we model the tidal heating and evolution of hypothetical extrasolar terrestrial planets. The results presented here constrain the orbital and physical properties required for planets to be habitable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume391
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Fingerprint

habitability
terrestrial planets
extrasolar planets
planet
heating
planets
replenishment
Europa
Io
plates (tectonics)
outgassing
stellar mass
plate tectonics
volcanism
oceans
physical property
physical properties
orbits
atmospheres
orbitals

Keywords

  • Astrobiology
  • Celestial mechanics
  • Planetary systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Tidal heating of terrestrial extrasolar planets and implications for their habitability. / Jackson, Brian; Barnes, Rory; Greenberg, Richard J.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 391, No. 1, 11.2008, p. 237-245.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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