Could moons like Pandora really exist ?
January 8, 2013 | 21 comments
Image Credit: ESO/L. Calcada
Exotic alien life could potentially thrive on habitable moons around distant planets, say scientists.
[!gad]Even in our own solar system, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn are proving to be some of the most promising places to look for signs of alien life. Extrasolar planets could also be home to their own set of moons, some of which with the potential to be more earth-like than their terrestrial counterparts. The concept is not dissimilar to the ideas explored in James Cameron's film 'Avatar' in which a world thriving with life is actually a moon orbiting a distant star.
"Jupiter has several large water-rich moons," said Astronomer Dr Chris Lintott. "Imaging dragging that system into the comfortably warm region where the Earth is. If such a planet had Earth-size moons, we'd see not Europa and Callisto but worlds with rivers, lakes and all sorts of habitats: a surprising scenario that might just be common."
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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