The Best Place to Find Extraterrestrial Life?

If you are a science fan, you know many people are going to great lengths to find life on other planets.  And there are plenty of candidates.  So far, we have found about 1600 planets of various sizes, with an estimated 100 billion planets thought to be in our Milky Way galaxy.

But are planets the right place to look?  Could a moon orbiting one of these planets be the inhabited terrain?

Recall the movies Avatar and Return of the Jedi.  Pandora and Endor were moons.  Moons are actually critically important.  Some think life on our own Earth is possible because of our Moon.  The Moon’s gravity is great enough to keep our planet in a stable tilt, which gives us our seasons and ensures no part gets too hot or too cold.  Plus the Moon creates the tides, which helps mix the sea water.

Although most of the planets we are finding in the Milky Way are gas giants considered hostile to life, it’s possible they could have habitable moons — think Saturn’s moon Titan.

In any event, the search goes on and nothing should be ruled out.

An excellent discussion of the possibility of habitable moons can be found on EarthSky News —

Orion Nebula-Moon-Saturn Fantasy

Orion Nebula-Moon-Saturn Fantasy

Image credit: Maxwell Hamilton/Flickr



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