Comment | Published:

How habitable zones and super-Earths lead us astray

Nature Astronomy volume 1, Article number: 0043 (2017) | Download Citation

As scientists, the terminology we choose influences our thinking as it carries our messages to colleagues and the public. In the face of pressure to turn science into clickbait, maintaining precision in the language we use is critical to dispel misinformation and, more broadly, to enable scientific progress.

  • Subscribe to Nature Astronomy for full access:



Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.


  1. 1.

    Should we expect other Earth-like planets at all? Scientific American (26 December 2012);

  2. 2.

    The 5 best times NASA discovered water on Mars. The Daily Dot (29 September 2015);

  3. 3.

    , & Icarus 101, 108–128 (1993).

  4. 4.

    The Destinies of the Stars (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1918).

  5. 5.

    et al. Nature 536, 437–440 (2016).

  6. 6.

    Earth-like planet around Proxima Centauri discovered. Universe Today (26 September 2016);

  7. 7.

    J. Geophys. Res. 73, 1959–1982 (1968).

  8. 8.

    & Geophys. Res. Lett. 8, 1187–1190 (1981).

  9. 9.

    & Geophys. Res. Lett. 8, 313–316 (1981).

Download references

Author information


  1. William B. Moore is at Hampton University and National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Virginia 23666, USA.

    • William B. Moore
  2. A. Lenardic is at Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.

    • A. Lenardic
  3. A. M. Jellinek and C. L. Johnson are at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.

    • A. M. Jellinek
  4. C.L.J. is also at the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona 85719, USA.

    • A. M. Jellinek
    •  & C. L. Johnson
  5. C. Goldblatt is at University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2, Canada.

    • C. Goldblatt
  6. R. D. Lorenz is at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland 20723, USA.

    • R. D. Lorenz


  1. Search for William B. Moore in:

  2. Search for A. Lenardic in:

  3. Search for A. M. Jellinek in:

  4. Search for C. L. Johnson in:

  5. Search for C. Goldblatt in:

  6. Search for R. D. Lorenz in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to William B. Moore.

About this article

Publication history



Rights and permissions

To obtain permission to re-use content from this article visit RightsLink.