Scientists: Planets possibly supporting extra-terrestrial life

Scientists: Planets possibly supporting extra-terrestrial life

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Scientists have outlined which moons and planets are most likely to harbour extra-terrestrial life, the first such study to emerge in recent years.

A team of scientists suggest that Saturn’s moon Titan and the exoplanet Gliese 581g may be the most likely places for finding life. The team published their results in the journal Astrobiology.

The study comes as astronomers have discovered upwards of 700 exoplanets, and a number of solar systems that hold the possibility of supporting life.

In the paper, the authors propose a series of indices that could be used by the international community as it continues to search for signs of extra-terrestrial life.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch, first author on the new paper and an astrobiologist at Washington State University, said the team said such an index would have two main components.

“The first question is whether Earth-like conditions can be found on other worlds, since we know empirically that those conditions could harbor life,” said Schulze-Makuch. “The second question is whether conditions exist on exoplanets that suggest the possibility of other forms of life, whether known to us or not. As a practical matter, interest in exoplanets is going to focus initially on the search for terrestrial, Earth-like planets.”

Schulze-Makuch was joined by his nine fellow authors – an international working group representing, NASA, SETI, the German Aerospace Center, and four universities.

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