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A free-floating planet (FFP) is a planetary-mass object that orbits around a non-stellar massive object (e.g. a brown dwarf) or around the Galactic Centre. The presence of exomoons orbiting FFPs has been theoretically predicted by several models. Under specific conditions, these moons are able to retain an atmosphere capable of ensuring the long-term thermal stability of liquid water on their surface. We model this environment with a one-dimensional radiative-convective code coupled to a gas-phase chemical network including cosmic rays and ion-neutral reactions. We find that, under specific conditions and assuming stable orbital parameters over time, liquid water can be formed on the surface of the exomoon. The final amount of water for an Earth-mass exomoon is smaller than the amount of water in Earth oceans, but enough to host the potential development of primordial life. The chemical equilibrium time-scale is controlled by cosmic rays, the main ionization driver in our model of the exomoon atmosphere.
What is astrobiology? Which fields does it comprise and what makes an astrobiologist? Ask five scientists and you may end up with six different definitions. This issue was raised at the first symposium of the European network of Astrobiology Graduates (AbGradE), held last year in Edinburgh, when discussing whether the attendees’ fields of study were represented in the astrobiology community.
We present a summary of a three-year academic research proposal drafted during the Sao Paulo Advanced School of Astrobiology (SPASA) to prepare for upcoming observations of tidally locked planets orbiting M-dwarf stars. The primary experimental goal of the suggested research is to expose extremophiles from analogue environments to a modified space simulation chamber reproducing the environmental parameters of a tidally locked planet in the habitable zone of a late-type star. Here we focus on a description of the astronomical analysis used to define the parameters for this climate simulation.
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