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Record Details

Record 35 of 5896
Habitable moons around extrasolar giant planets
External Online Source: doi:10.1038/385234a0
Author and Affiliation:
Williams, D. M.(University Park 16802, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Pennsylvania State University, United States)
Kasting, J. F.
Wade, R. A.
Abstract: Possible planetary objects have now been discovered orbiting nine different main-sequence stars. These companion objects (some of which might actually be brown dwarfs) all have a mass at least half that of Jupiter, and are therefore unlikely to be hospitable to Earth-like life: jovian planets and brown dwarfs support neither a solid nor a liquid surface near which organisms might dwell. Here we argue that rocky moons orbiting these companions could be habitable if the planet-moon system orbits the parent star within the so-called 'habitable zone', where life-supporting liquid water could be present. The companions to the stars 16 Cygni B and 47 Ursae Majoris might satisfy this criterion. Such a moon would, however, need to be large enough (>0.12 Earth masses) to retain a substantial and long-lived atmosphere, and would also need to possess a strong magnetic field in order to prevent its atmosphere from being sputtered away by the constant bombardment of energetic ions from the planet's magnetosphere.
Publication Date: Jan 16, 1997
Document ID:
20040173047
(Acquired Dec 09, 2004)
Subject Category: EXOBIOLOGY
Document Type: Journal Article
Publication Information: Nature (ISSN 0028-0836); Volume 385; 6613; 234-6
Publisher Information: United Kingdom
Description: In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright
NASA Terms: EXOBIOLOGY; EXTRASOLAR PLANETS; GAS GIANT PLANETS; HABITABILITY; PLANETS; EXTRATERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENTS; WATER
Other Descriptors: EXOBIOLOGY; PLANETS; EXTRATERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENT; SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, NON-P.H.S; WATER; NASA DISCIPLINE EXOBIOLOGY; NON-NASA CENTER
Availability Source: Other Sources
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