Volume 625, May 2019
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||20 May 2019|
Advanced aspects of Galactic habitability
Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade, Studentski Trg 16, 11000 Belgrade Serbia
2 Astronomical Observatory, Volgina 7, PO Box 74 11060 Belgrade, Serbia
e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 29 March 2019
Context. Astrobiological evolution of the Milky Way (or the shape of its “astrobiological landscape”) has emerged as a key research topic in recent years. In order to build precise, quantitative models of the Galactic habitability, we need to account for two opposing tendencies of life and intelligence in the most general context: the tendency to spread to all available ecological niches (conventionally dubbed “colonization”) and the tendency to succumb to various types of existential catastrophes (“catastrophism”). These evolutionary tendencies have become objects of study in fields such as ecology, macroevolution, risk analysis, and futures studies, though a serious astrobiological treatment has so far been lacking.
Aims. Our aim is to numerically investigate the dynamics of opposed processes of expansion (panspermia, colonization) and extinction (catastrophic mechanisms) of life in the Galaxy.
Methods. We employed a new type of numerical simulation based on 1D probabilistic cellular automaton with very high temporal resolution, in order to study astrobiological dynamics.
Results. While the largest part of the examined parameter space shows very low habitability values, as expected, the remaining part has some observationally appealing features that imply, among other things, a reduction in the amount of fine-tuning necessary for resolving the Fermi paradox.
Conclusions. Advanced aspects of Galactic habitability are amenable to precision studies using massive parallel computer simulations. There are regions of the parameter space that correspond to a quasi-stationary state satisfying observable constraints and possessing viable SETI targets.
Key words: methods: numerical / Galaxy: evolution / extraterrestrial intelligence
© ESO 2019
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