121 Giant Exoplanets May Host Habitable Moons

first_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System Broadening their search for extraterrestrials, researchers identified more than 100 giant planets whose moons may be capable of supporting life.In the near-decade since NASA launched its Kepler telescope, scientists have identified thousands of exoplanets.These celestial bodies orbiting outside our Solar System have already furthered our understanding of the formation and evolution of this galaxy. Soon they may provide more knowledge of alternative ones.AdChoices广告Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Southern Queensland catalogued 121 giant planets whose orbit is within the habitable zones of its stars (also known as the “Goldilocks Zone,” where it’s neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water).These Jupiter-like gas giants, though less common than rocky planets, are believed to each host several large satellites, which may provide an even more favorable environment than Earth.The so-called “exomoons” receive energy from their star, as well as radiation reflected from their planet.“There are currently 175 known moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system,” Stephen Kane, an associate professor of planetary astrophysics at UCR, 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.”Moving forward, the team will refine their research based on observations of the best candidates for hosting potential exomoons.“Our follow-up studies will help inform future telescope design so that we can detect these moons, study their properties, and look for signs of life,” according to Michelle Hill, an undergraduate at the University of Southern Queensland.NASA recently sent its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) into space on a two-year hunt for undiscovered worlds. Intended to “cast a wider net than ever before,” the spacecraft serves as a sort of precursor to the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, heading into orbit next spring.“Including rocky exomoons in our search for life in space will greatly expand the places we can look,” Kane said.Read more in a paper recently published by The Astrophysical Journal.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetlast_img