Moons may hold clues of whether planets can hold life: Study

S7 News


Earth's moon is vital in making it function. It controls the length of the day and ocean tides, which affect the biological cycles of lifeforms on our planet. The moon also contributes to Earth's climate by stabilizing its spin axis, offering an ideal environment for life to thrive. A recent study has suggested that a moon may be a potentially beneficial feature in harbouring life on other planets. The study was published in the journal 'Nature Communications'.

Most planets have moons, but Earth's moon is distinct in that it is large compared to the size of Earth; the moon's radius is larger than a quarter of Earth's radius, a much larger ratio than most moons to their planets.

Miki Nakajima, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester, found that distinction significant. And in the study that she led, she and her colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona examine moon formations and conclude that only certain types of planets can form moons that are large in respect to their host planets.


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