Artistic vision of a potentially habitable satellite orbiting a giant exoplanet
We always hear about the search for life on foreign worlds. But what about their companions? In a new study from the University of South Queensland, more than 100 giant planets have been identified that are capable of having moons with the potential to have life.
Since the launch of the Kepler Space Telescope in 2009, scientists have found thousands of planets outside our system, called exoplanets. The main goal of the mission is to identify planets located in habitat zones. The main objectives are the rocky worlds of the earth type, because some geologically and atmospheric resemble our planet. However, worlds like Jupiter do not support life themselves, but may have comfortable satellites.
Within the solar system, there are 175 known moons around 8 planets. Most belong to Saturn and Jupiter, located outside the habitat zone. But in other systems, giants can live closer to the star. If we add them to the system, we will be able to expand the scope of the search. The researchers derived a list of 121 giants located in habitat zones. These are terrestrial planets that are three times as large as the Earth’s. Exoloons may have a favorable living environment. And some believe that the prerequisites can be even better than the earth, because the moon receives energy not only from the star, but also reflected from the planet. But so far exosatellites have not been confirmed.
Scientists believe that with a list of known giant planets in the habitat zone, you can search for their moons in order to get a better chance of finding someone else's life. Further research may affect the future design of a telescope capable of finding moons outside our system.