Over 100 planets have moons that could be inhabited, found astronomers. They were looking into the cosmos to detect signs of extraterrestrial life. NASA launched the Kepler space telescope in 2009, and ever since, scientists have discovered thousands of exoplanets deep in space.
Now, scientists in California and Australia hope to expand their work by looking at 121 planets that have moons which could support life. The zone they’re looking at is called Goldilocks zone. That is where they could find a habitable exoplanet or moon.
The Rocky Exomoons Could Host Life
The Goldilocks zone is the area perfect for signs of life. It’s where a planet’s atmosphere is the right temperature, and it also has liquid water. So far, the scientists have uncovered gas giants, but the search is not finished. Their moons could host alien life forms. Stephen Kane (University of California Riverside) explains their findings until now:
“There are currently 175 known moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system. While most of these moons orbit Saturn and Jupiter, which are outside the Sun’s habitable zone, that may not be the case in other solar systems.”
So, they will search for life in space on the “rocky exomoons” that have the right atmosphere and water to sustain life.
The 121 planets discovered by the astronomers will be presented at the next edition of the Astrophysical Journal. Researchers from the University of California Riverside and the University of Southern Queensland hope that their work will influence the future of space telescope designs.
According to the researchers, the 121 planets are at a habitable distance from the stars, and each has many large moons. Michelle Hill is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern Queensland. She explained what their next step is:
“Now that we have created a database of the known giant planets in the habitable zone of their star, observations of the best candidates for hosting potential exomoons will be made to help refine the expected exomoon properties.”
She adds that more research will follow to “help inform future telescope design so that we can detect these moons, study their properties, and look for signs of life.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.