The Moons of Some Giant Alien Planets Could Host Life

An artist’s illustration of a habitable exomoon orbiting a giant exoplanet. Credit: Jay Friedlander/Britt Griswold/NASA/GSFC
Researchers have identified more than 100 giant exoplanets that may have potentially life-hosting moons. The new analysis could change the way scientists search for life in the cosmos, study team members said.

By Chelsea Gohd |

That search has generally focused on places more or less like Earth — rocky planets in the „habitable zone“ of their host star, that just-right range of distances where liquid water could exist on a world’s surface. Jupiter-like planets don’t seem like good candidates in this regard, because they have no discernible surface. But the rocky moons of such gas giants may be a different story, study team members said. [How Habitable Zones for Alien Planets and Stars Work (Infographic)]

„There are currently 175 known moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system,“ study co-author Stephen Kane, an associate professor of planetary astrophysics at UCR and a member of UCR’s Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center, said in a statement.

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