How habitable zones and super-Earths lead us astray

William B. Moore, A. Lenardic, A. M. Jellinek, C. L. Johnson, C. Goldblatt and R. D. Lorenz

“The English language … becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” – George Orwell

The field of exoplanet research is currently experiencing a period of integration among researchers from the planetary exploration, astrobiology, and astronomical observation communities (among others). In addition, exoplanet discoveries generate strong interest from the public and a need for frequent communication of scientific discoveries to non-scientists. Together, these factors have put significant pressure on the field to develop an easily digested scientific shorthand for frequently used concepts. While useful, such terminology is often imprecise and can ultimately mislead the very audience it was designed to reach.

Nature Astronomy Volume 1, Feb 2, 2017 DOI: 10.1038/s41550-017-0043

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