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Could moons like Pandora really exist ?


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#1    Saru

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:25 PM

Exotic alien life could potentially thrive on habitable moons around distant planets, say scientists.

Independent said:

Moons like the one depicted in the film Avatar may be among the most common places to find alien life, scientists believe. Astronomers came to the conclusion after identifying up to 15 new planets orbiting the life-friendly "habitable zones" of stars.

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#2    Sean93

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:31 PM

If Europa is anything to go by....but I could say they do and probably be right considering the size of our universe.

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#3    OverSword

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

View PostSean93, on 07 January 2013 - 10:31 PM, said:

If Europa is anything to go by....but I could say they do and probably be right considering the size of our universe.
My thoughts exactly.


#4    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:42 PM

View PostSean93, on 07 January 2013 - 10:31 PM, said:

If Europa is anything to go by....

Except that Europa isn't in the habitable zone, it's source of heat is gravitational interactions with Jupiter. The article is about moons with in the "Goldilocks" zone of their parent star.

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#5    Bavarian Raven

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:20 AM

Quote

Except that Europa isn't in the habitable zone, it's source of heat is gravitational interactions with Jupiter. The article is about moons with in the "Goldilocks" zone of their parent star.

To be fair, whether it's source of heat is gravitational or solar, does it really matter so long as it makes the place "livable" for some form of life or another?


#6    bison

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:38 AM

Since a number of Jovian (Jupiter sized) planets have been discovered quite near their parent stars, its not unreasonable that some of them would be in the habitable zones. If the planets are, so are their moons. They would receive about as much energy from their star, as Earth does from the Sun. It wouldn't even matter that they were tidally locked, always having the same side facing  the planet. Their orbits around the planet would expose most of their surfaces to the rays of their star. One 'day' would consist of one orbit around the planet. Night would be when the planet shaded the moon from the star.

Edited by bison, 08 January 2013 - 02:40 AM.


#7    Timonthy

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:25 AM

View Postbison, on 08 January 2013 - 02:38 AM, said:

Since a number of Jovian (Jupiter sized) planets have been discovered quite near their parent stars, its not unreasonable that some of them would be in the habitable zones. If the planets are, so are their moons. They would receive about as much energy from their star, as Earth does from the Sun. It wouldn't even matter that they were tidally locked, always having the same side facing  the planet. Their orbits around the planet would expose most of their surfaces to the rays of their star. One 'day' would consist of one orbit around the planet. Night would be when the planet shaded the moon from the star.
That is one example of possible optimum conditions but unfortunately the probability of a moon orbiting a planet orbiting a sun in such a way as to be able to sustain life is very low.

Finding a planet orbiting only a sun with conditions to support life is hard enough without throwing in countless other variables. ;)

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#8    ExoPaul

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:02 PM

True Timonthy..... but the probability increases with quantity. With an estimated 100 Billion planets in our galaxy alone, and over 100 billion galaxies believed to be within our visible range...... that is potentially 10,000 quadrillion planets or  (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) within our galaxies view. If only 0.00000000000001% of those planets had optimal life conditions that is still 1 million planets that could hold life. And if each of those planets were identical to Earth and contained a similar number of human-like creatures..... that would potentially be 7000 trillion intelligent lifeforms in the universe!


#9    Drayno

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

View PostExoPaul, on 08 January 2013 - 06:02 PM, said:

True Timonthy..... but the probability increases with quantity. With an estimated 100 Billion planets in our galaxy alone, and over 100 billion galaxies believed to be within our visible range...... that is potentially 10,000 quadrillion planets or  (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) within our galaxies view. If only 0.00000000000001% of those planets had optimal life conditions that is still 1 million planets that could hold life. And if each of those planets were identical to Earth and contained a similar number of human-like creatures..... that would potentially be 7000 trillion intelligent lifeforms in the universe!

Excellent post! The certainty of other intelligent life forms in our universe is 100%.

But when and where they exist/existed is the question.

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#10    Timonthy

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:59 AM

View PostExoPaul, on 08 January 2013 - 06:02 PM, said:

True Timonthy..... but the probability increases with quantity. With an estimated 100 Billion planets in our galaxy alone, and over 100 billion galaxies believed to be within our visible range...... that is potentially 10,000 quadrillion planets or  (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) within our galaxies view. If only 0.00000000000001% of those planets had optimal life conditions that is still 1 million planets that could hold life. And if each of those planets were identical to Earth and contained a similar number of human-like creatures..... that would potentially be 7000 trillion intelligent lifeforms in the universe!
Oh I am not in disagreement at all, the probability is 1! It would be very sad if we're we're the only life in the universe...

Was just referring to the trivial brush-off-the-shoulder that it's easy for a planet to have habitable conditions.

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#11    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

View Postbison, on 08 January 2013 - 02:38 AM, said:

It wouldn't even matter that they were tidally locked, always having the same side facing  the planet. Their orbits around the planet would expose most of their surfaces to the rays of their star. One 'day' would consist of one orbit around the planet.
This part I totally agree with.

View Postbison, on 08 January 2013 - 02:38 AM, said:

Night would be when the planet shaded the moon from the star.
This part, however, is wrong. Night would still be when a given point on the moon was facing away from the sun, the same as for anyother planet, satellite, asteroid, etcetera.

However there would be additional periods of darkness when the moon passed through the shadow of the planet it was orbiting. This is not night, it is an eclipse. How often this happened would depend on the size of the parent planet, the distance between planet and moon and the orbital inclination of the moon.

It is the same situation we see on our moon. Any given point on the lunar surface experiences day and night. However occasionally the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. We call it a Lunar Eclipse, however from the point of view of an observer on the Moon it is a total eclipse of the Sun by the Earth.


Two things to note:
Firstly, if the satellite is tidally locked then only the planet facing side can experience the eclipse.

Secondly, if the parent planet has a substantial atmosphere then the eclipse will not result in total darkness on the moon's surface. The planetary atmosphere will refract some light. This is the reason the Moon can still be seen (albeit an eerie red in colour) when it is in the Earth's shadow. From the Moon there would be a ring of red light around the dark side of the Earth. I suspect it would be beautiful to see and I hope one day a mission will return just such a picture from the lunar surface.

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#12    bison

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:23 PM

You're quite right, of course, about the occurrence of night. My mistake. Thanks for correcting it!


#13    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:52 PM

View PostExoPaul, on 08 January 2013 - 06:02 PM, said:

True Timonthy..... but the probability increases with quantity. With an estimated 100 Billion planets in our galaxy alone, and over 100 billion galaxies believed to be within our visible range...... that is potentially 10,000 quadrillion planets or  (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) within our galaxies view. If only 0.00000000000001% of those planets had optimal life conditions that is still 1 million planets that could hold life. And if each of those planets were identical to Earth and contained a similar number of human-like creatures..... that would potentially be 7000 trillion intelligent lifeforms in the universe!
Yeah there would have to be some other life somewhere according to those numbers.

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#14    Erikl

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

Could you imagine life on Europa?

Let's assume that current theories about large level of oxygen culminating inside Europe's huge ocean are correct. Let's even allow ourselves to dream that there are some sort of intelligent life forms there, although aquatic. They would never know that there is a universe above. For them, that idea would be as alien as other dimensions are to use right now. They're world would resolve around two "lands" - the outer shell, that is Europa's ice crust, as thick as perhaps tens of kilometres, and perhaps covered with land from it's inner side as a result of volcanic activity of Europa. The other side will be Europa's "real" surface - that is, the bottom of it's vast ocean. They would know nothing about our sun, not even about Jupiter. As a result of their aquatic environment they would also be unable to detect Jupiter's immense gravity, without some sort of devices. This world would truly be amazing to see.


#15    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

View PostErikl, on 11 January 2013 - 01:18 PM, said:

As a result of their aquatic environment they would also be unable to detect Jupiter's immense gravity, without some sort of devices.
Here in lies a problem for us. We are likely to be able to explore Europa in the coming decades (and the other moons within our solar system). We will know for sure whether life exists on them or not, but the universe could be teeming with life as you have described it, countless millions of ice covered worlds with intelligent, aquatic life forms, and just as they know nothing about the universe above the ice, we will never know of their existence below it.

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