From the ‘X Files’: Alien World’s Moon Could Potentially Host Life


The newly discovered gas giant Kepler-16b,  a Saturn-sized planet 200 light-years away .which like Star Wars’ Tatooine orbits two stars, has an orbiting moon that this planet might harbor ET life. Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars with about two-thirds and one-fifth the mass of the sun, respectively.

In a recent arxiv paper, astronomers posit that a hypothetical moon could have the right temperature to host life because as the planet travels in its 229-day orbit around its dual parent stars, it would experience variation in the amount of light and heat it receives, essentially causing seasons. Changing seasons, in turn, can be responsible for weather patterns that create chemical reactions and are posssible triggers of life.

The moon's “summer" season could receive approximately the same amount of sunlight as Mars, a planet with temperatures ranging between 68 and -124 degrees Fahrenheit. During its “winter” phase it would still be gathering more than six times the sunlight than Jupiter’s Europa, a prime life candidate in our Solar System where the average surface temperature is -276 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Daily Galaxy via NASA/JPL-Caltech and wired,com


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