Paula Marie Navarra
Scientists have found a trail of radio wave leading to an exomoon that could prove life exists beyond the Earth.
Exomoons, otherwise called extrasolar moons, are natural satellites that orbit an exoplanet and extrasolar body.
Scientists found a radio wave emission that led to an interaction between Jupiter’s magnetic field and Io, its moon.
Zdzislaw Musielak from the University of Texas said this is a new way of looking at things because they’ve found there are star systems that could be discovered with the use of radio waves.
Scientists believe that Enceladus, Saturn’s moon and Europa, Jupiter’s moon, have the ability to support life based from their potential for water and distance from the sun.
Existing scientific method don’t allow scientists to easily spot exomoons, Musielak said.
Scientists base their study on earlier theories about discovered exoplanets using radio waves.
They’ve focused on Io and its ionosphere, which is a charged upper atmosphere created by active volcanoes found on the moon.
According to their scientific findings, Io’s ionosphere interacts with Jupiter’s magnetosphere, which is a layer of charged plasma protecting the planet from radiation called Io-controlled decametric emissions.
Scientists believe finding similar emissions near exoplanets could be the key to predicting to the location of other moons.
They said this does not necessarily mean other moons need to have volcanic activity like Io does to be habitable.
Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, can sustain a thick atmosphere. This means that means that volcanic activity is not a requirement to be an exomoon.
Scientists explain that most of the detectable exoplanets are gas giants found in habitable zones. These gas giants can’t support life but the exomoons orbiting them might.