There are a lot of search related to the habitable exoplanets, and what about the habitable Exomoons. Scientists have recognized 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.
“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.
“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,” Kane added. “Including rocky exomoons in our search for life in space will greatly expand the places we can look.”
NASA’s Kepler space telescope provide the data, which has discovered about 70 percent of the 3,700 known exoplanets to date.
No exomoons have been confirmed yet. “But if any of those huge exoplanets have natural satellites — which seems likely, given how common moons are in our own solar system — they could be especially promising abodes for life, study team members said. For example, potential lifeforms on their surfaces could tap energy coming directly from their star, and light reflected off their parent planet as well”, mentions space.com
“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,” study lead author Michelle Hill, an undergraduate student at the University of Southern Queensland who is working with Kane, said in the statement.
The new study has been published in The Astrophysical Journal, the headline of “Exploring Kepler Giant Planets in the Habitable Zone”.