The Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) is a research laboratory dedicated to studies of the habitability of Earth, the Solar System, and worlds beyond. The main goal of the PHL is to map the habitable universe via the development and implementation of methods to measure the habitability of planetary bodies.

The lab's main research approach is to use the evolution of terrestrial habitability, from paleoclimates to climate change, as a baseline for planetary habitability studies. The specific objectives are to (1) develop habitability metrics and classifications, (2) trace the evolution of terrestrial habitability, (3) assess the habitability potential of solar and extrasolar planets, (4) devise tools and methods for ground, orbital, and remote habitability assessments, and (5) create, provide, and facilitate astrobiology science tools for scientist and educators.

The most notable projects of the PHL are the Visible Paleo-Earth (VPE), a photorealistic visual reconstruction of Earth's past in the last 750 million years, and the Habitable Worlds Catalog (HWC), a database of potentially habitable worlds.


Abel Méndez

Director, PHL @ UPR Arecibo

Ángel Acosta

Co-I, PHL @ UPR Arecibo

Guillermo Neri

Co-I, PHL @ UPR Arecibo

Glorymill Santiago

Co-I, PHL @ UPR Arecibo

Edgard Rivera-Valentín


Kevin Ortiz-Ceballos

Co-I, Harvard University

Marcos Jusino-Maldonado



The computational resources of the PHL are supported by the High Performance Computing Facility (HPCf), the University of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico INBRE grant P20 RR-016470 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and the Institute for Functional Nanomaterials (IFN) award 0701525 from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Contact Information

Prof. Abel Méndez, Director

Planetary Habitability Laboratory

University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo

PO Box 4010

Arecibo, PR 00613

Email: abel.mendez@upr.edu

Twitter: @ProfAbelMendez