From gradually slowing down the Earth rotation to stabilizing Earth’s wobble allowing for stable climates, the Moon has made a large impact on Earth billions of years after it first arrived. These impacts are so large that some researchers are studying if a moon is a requirement for life on its host planet. In a recent study published by Nature Communications, researchers have found a threshold for how large a planet can have a moon with roughly its same size, like Earth’s.
They show through computer simulations that if a planet is too large, a moon is in its early stages as a disk of material would not have the capability to completely form a moon. Once enough material combined to start to form a large moon, it would be pulled into the planet. They propose when looking for Earth-like, habitable planets, to steer away from larger planets that would likely not have a moon.
Want to learn more about this study, what all is considered when searching for a habitual exoplanet, or about the telescopes that find these planets? Click on the links below!
Large planets may not form fractionally large moons
What makes planets habitable? Moons may tell us
Moon facts: Fun information about the Earth’s moon
What makes a planet habitable?