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Distant Moons may Sustain Life, finds study

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Published on : Jun 18, 2018

In a new development, researchers have discovered more than 100 giant planets that may have moons that support life. This finding will steer the design and development of future telescopes that can locate these future moons and look for signs of life in their atmosphere.

While the search for life on other planets is not new, the search for moons on newly discovered planets is a new thing. As per a study published in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers have discovered more than 100 humongous planets that may have habitable moons.

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Initiated Study of Discovery of Life on Exoplanets

Since NASA launched the Kepler telescope in 2009, scientists have discovered a very large number of planets outside the solar system, which are called exoplanets. Among many, a key goal of the Kepler program is to discover planets that are located in the inhabitable zones of their stars, and are neither too cold nor too hot for water.

Terrestrial planets are the ones primarily targeted to look for life, as some of them are similar to Earth geologically as well as atmospherically. The many gas giants detected during the Kepler mission are other places looked for life. The planets sought are to be like Jupiter, which not a candidate itself, may comprise rocky moons that could support life.

Currently, there are 175 known moons that orbit the eight planets in our solar system. Most of these moons rotate around Jupiter and Saturn, which are out of the habitable zone of the Sun. This may not be true for moons in other solar systems. The search for life on rocky moons on new planets can greatly expand the places that are sought.