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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.