Home on the moon

Astronomers say rocky moons orbiting distant planets might support alien life

By Stephen Ornes, 14:56 PM February 1, 2013

Life on the moon — but not ours. This illustration shows two large moons orbiting a giant, gassy planet (in orange). Astronomers say the right type of moon could harbor alien life. Credit: R. Heller, AIP

The first confirmation of alien life might come not from a distant planet, but from a far-flung moon.

Planet hunters have identified hundreds of exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. So far, none seem to support life as we know it. Most of those worlds are too big and too hot; some are too cold. But many would likely have moons. And just the right moon could be a cradle of alien life, concludes a pair of astronomers.

René Heller of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Pot...

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