Life on the moon? It could have happened

Moon and Earth
The moon passes across Earth’s disk in a 2015 image captured by the DSCOVR satellite from its observation point, a million miles out in space. (Credit: NASA / NOAA)

The moon is one of the last places in the solar system you’d expect to find life today, but astrobiologists say life could have found a foothold there billions of years ago.

The life-on-the-moon question could provide a focus for future science missions to the moon in the years ahead, and mesh with similar searches on more promising worlds such as Mars, the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturnian moon Enceladus.

In a study published online today by the journal Astrobiology, Washington State University’s Dirk Schulze-Makuch and the University of London’s Ian Crawford pinpoint two spans of time when conditions on the moon might have supported simple lifeforms.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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