Deciphering Spectral Fingerprints of Habitable Exoplanets
Journal article, 2010

We discuss how to read a planet's spectrum to assess its habitability and search for the signatures of a biosphere. After a decade rich in giant exoplanet detections, observation techniques have advanced to a level where we now have the capability to find planets of less than 10 Earth masses (M-Earth) (so-called "super Earths''), which may be habitable. How can we characterize those planets and assess whether they are habitable? This new field of exoplanet search has shown an extraordinary capacity to combine research in astrophysics, chemistry, biology, and geophysics into a new and exciting interdisciplinary approach to understanding our place in the Universe. The results of a first-generation mission will most likely generate an amazing scope of diverse planets that will set planet formation, evolution, and our planet into an overall context.




Habitable planets


earth-like planets

Exoplanet search

extrasolar terrestrial planets

infrared radiation



Planetary atmospheres

thermal emission

hd 189733b


L. Kaltenegger

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

F. Selsis

University of Bordeaux

M. Fridlund

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESA ESTEC)

H. Lammer

Institut fur Weltraumforschung

C. Beichman

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

W. Danchi

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

C. Eiroa

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM)

T. Henning

Max Planck Society

T. Herbst

Max Planck Society

A. Leger

University of Paris-Sud

René Liseau

Chalmers, Department of Radio and Space Science, Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics

J. Lunine

University of Arizona

F. Paresce

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

A. Penny

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

A. Quirrenbach

Heidelberg-Königstuhl State Observatory

H. Rottgering

Leiden University

J. Schneider

Observatoire de Paris-Meudon

D. Stam

Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)

G. Tinetti

University College London (UCL)

G. J. White

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Open University


1531-1074 (ISSN)

Vol. 10 1 89-102

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Basic sciences



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