Feeds

Potential ALIEN LIFE habitats FOUND ON MOONS

Endor, Pandora turn out to be inspired guesses

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

International boffins, poring over the results from mighty telescopes both spacegoing and ground-bound, say they have identified at least 16 potentially habitable Earth-like planets orbiting other stars: and at least 30 potentially habitable moons along the lines of the scientifictional Endor and Pandora, orbiting planets in other solar systems.

The news comes in a press statement issued by the Planetary Habitability Laboratory of the University of Puerto Rico, outlining the new Habitable Exoplanets Catalogue compiled by its scientists. The catalogue rates each exoplanet on its chances of being able to harbour life along Earthly lines, which requires various things such as temperatures where liquid water can exist, a protective magnetic field to keep off the space radiation etc.

"One important outcome of these rankings is the ability to compare exoplanets from best to worst candidates for life", says Abel Méndez, Director of the Laboratory and principal compiler of the catalogue.

"New observations with ground and orbital observatories will discover thousands of exoplanets in the coming years. We expect that the analyses contained in our catalog will help to identify, organize, and compare the life potential of these discoveries."

According to Méndez and his colleagues analysis of data from sources including NASA's Kepler space telescope, among thousands of known exoplanet candidates and hundreds of confirmed planets, only a few are strong candidates to be habitable:

Only two confirmed exoplanets so far match the criteria for habitability in the catalog, Gliese 581d and HD 85512b, both still marginally Earth-like. However, the catalog identifies over 15 exoplanets and 30 exomoons as potential habitable candidates. Future observations with new instruments, such as the proposed NASA Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), will be necessary to confirm the suitability for life of any of these candidates.

Gliese 581d and HD 85512b are both well-known as promising places for life already, and we here on the Reg interstellar-affairs desk have also reported on strong prospects for exomoons before this. According to the new Catalogue, due to go online shortly here, there are also 30 exomoons and 8 "warm terrans" - earth-size planets in their star's liquid water zone - plus a further 8 "warm superterrans" - bigger planets in the liquid water zone - now known.

More detail is expected in a NASA briefing later in the day: we'll keep you posted. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?