Humanity's next home may be a habitable moon outside the solar system

Illustration for article titled Humanity's next home may be a habitable moon outside the solar system

Scientists now think that moons orbiting around planets can harbor life under certain conditions. And just by that—even being extremely conservative—the number of celestial bodies capable of sustaining life in the universe may have jumped up by about four trillion. Could one of these habitable moons be our next home?


Just do the numbers. NASA estimates that there are 100 billion planets in our galaxy alone. Not Earth-sized—that's 17 billion—but any planet. There are approximately 500 billion galaxies in the universe but, since not all of them are as big as ours, lets be really conservative and take 100 billion galaxies out of that.

That's still makes up for 400 quintillion planets out there. 400,000,000,000,000,000,000. Even if only one per cent had moons—this percentage is probably much higher—that would leave us with four quintillion moons (4,000,000,000,000,000,000). If only 0.001 percent were habitable, the final number of potential life habitats would be mind-blowing: four trillion. That's still more habitable moons than the number of dollars in the U.S. debt. If you want to be really pessimistic, send Galactus to chomp on three trillion of these delicious moons. That would still leave us with a cool trillion.

These gigantic numbers really don't make much sense to mere mortals like us, but it feels like the idea of a Universe bubbling with life is getting statistically undeniable with every new astronomy research paper.

Note: NASA thinks "there is a minimum of 1,500 planets within just 50 light-years of Earth." Could one of these moons be around the (galactic) corner? Perhaps, when the time comes, they would be great targets to start the colonization of worlds outside of the Solar System.

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