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Researchers: Moons make planets habitable — but not all planets can have them

University of Rochester: The researchers found that rocky planets larger than six times the mass of Earth (6M) and icy planets larger than one Earth mass (1M) produce fully—rather than partially—vaporized disks, and these fully-vaporized disks are not capable of forming fractionally large moons. Read More ›

“‘Oumuamua is a spacecraft!” astronomer has come up with a SENSIBLE idea: Search the Moon

Avi Loeb has come up with a very reasonable idea for searching for evidence of other civilizations in our galaxy: Look for alien debris on our still, lifeless, atmosphere-free Moon. Read More ›

Rob Sheldon on the chances of the tardigrades (water bears) surviving the recent moon crash

Sheldon: Well, I do think that dormant tardigrades, which could survive for hundreds if not thousands of years in a "freeze-dried" state, can be revived when placed in water. If the spacecraft, Beresheet, had crashed with dormant tardigrades, then most definitely they are scattered about the surface of the Moon, waiting for their resurrection day in water. Read More ›

Hugh Ross: The fine-tuning that enabled our life-friendly moon creates discomfort

Astronomer Robin Canup has spent fifteen years developing models that seem to demonstrate that, whether it is a desired finding or not: Such fine-tuning was not lost on Canup, who remarked in a recent Nature review article, “Current theories on the formation of the Moon owe too much to cosmic coincidences.”4 Indeed, the required “coincidences” continue to pile up… In yet another article in the same issue as Canup’s review, earth scientist Tim Elliott observes that the degree and kinds of complexity and fine-tuning required by lunar origin models appear to be increasing at an exponential rate. Among lunar origin researchers, he notes, “the sequence of conditions that currently seems necessary in these revised versions of lunar formation have led Read More ›

Researchers: The Moon made life on Earth possible

From ScienceDaily: Earth most likely received the bulk of its carbon, nitrogen and other life-essential volatile elements from the planetary collision that created the moon more than 4.4 billion years ago, according to a new study by Rice University petrologists in the journal Science Advances. “From the study of primitive meteorites, scientists have long known that Earth and other rocky planets in the inner solar system are volatile-depleted,” said study co-author Rajdeep Dasgupta. “But the timing and mechanism of volatile delivery has been hotly debated. Ours is the first scenario that can explain the timing and delivery in a way that is consistent with all of the geochemical evidence.” The evidence was compiled from a combination of high-temperature, high-pressure experiments Read More ›


You read the title right. Recently, some astronomers thought they had spotted an “exomoon,” a moon orbiting an exoplanet. There are, of course, bound to be some. But now Gizmodo introduces us to the concept of the moonmoon, a submoon orbiting a moon. One research team is taking on the possibility: The team’s short analysis found that small submoons, perhaps 10 kilometers in radius, could only survive around large moons (such as the ones we see in our Solar System) far away from the host planet, according to the paper published on the arXiv preprint server. Moons that are too close to their host planets or too small might lose their submoons to tidal forces from the planet—shredding the submoon Read More ›

Astronomers: First possible exomoon is the size of Neptune, and orbiting a “Jupiter”

An MIT astronomer is 75% certain that an object previously suspected of being an Intro of exomoon (a moon orbiting an exoplanets) really is that: The first confirmed detection of an exomoon would mark a milestone in exploring planetary systems throughout the Galaxy. It would, among other things, allow scientists to test ideas of moon formation using examples from beyond the Solar System. Teachey’s proposed exomoon is already throwing up some surprises. Evidence suggests the moon is about the size of Neptune, orbiting a planet roughly the size of Jupiter. That would make it unlike anything in the Solar System, where most moons are much smaller than the planets they orbit. “It’s raising new questions about the dynamical processes that Read More ›

Might we find evidence of past life on the Moon?

Well, not today. But at one time, the Moon was not completely separate from Earth. It really depends on how long ago life got started here whether some microbial life could have been trapped on the moon and survived a while. The sagas of the worm that survived the space shuttle blowup and the water bears in space should warn against too-hasty dismissal. Read More ›

Moon formed from smashed moonlets?

From Hanneke Weitering at LiveScience: Earth’s moon may be the product of many small moonlets that merged after multiple objects as big as Mars collided with Earth, leaving disks of planetary debris orbiting the planet, a new study suggests. This idea that multiple impacts led to the moon’s birth challenges the most prevalent theory of lunar formation, which suggests that one giant impact led to the formation of the moon. More. See also: Space.com: Scientists finally know how old Moon is What’s surprising, really, is how little we know about the moon in general. And various current theories: Another moon origin theory: Epic crash How the Moon Formed: 5 Wild Lunar Theories (Mike Wall at Space.com, 2014) Our moon formed in Read More ›