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Life has prospects on moons of giant extrasolar planets

Earthlike bodies may orbit distant Jupiters

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4:53pm, January 18, 2013

Earth-sized moons in planetary systems trillions of miles away could be hotbeds for alien life, astronomers report in the January Astrobiology.

"It's the most thorough look at exomoon habitability I've seen," says Darren Williams, an astronomer at Penn State Erie who was not involved in the research. “I’m encouraged by the paper that we’ll find exomoons in abundance and that a fraction of them could be habitable.”  

Astronomers have found about 3,600 confirmed or probable planets orbiting other stars, none of which have the ideal combination of size and temperature to support life. However, more than 150 of them are gas giants in orbits where liquid water could exist, if only i

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