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Paper: Pathways towards Habitable Moons
Volume: 430, Pathways Towards Habitable Planets
Page: 139
Authors: Kipping, D. M.; Fossey, S. J.; Campanella, G.; Schneider, J.; Tinetti, G.
Abstract: The search for life outside of the Solar System should not be restricted to exclusively planetary bodies; large moons of extrasolar planets may also be common habitable environments throughout the Galaxy. Extrasolar moons, or exomoons, may be detected through transit timing effects induced onto the host planet as a result of mutual gravitational interaction. In particular, transit timing variations (TTV) and transit duration variations (TDV) are predicted to produce a unique exomoon signature, which is not only easily distinguished from other gravitational perturbations, but also provides both the period and mass of an exomoon. Using these timing effects, photometry greater or equal to that of the Kepler Mission is readily able to detect habitable-zone exomoons down to 0.2 Mearth and could survey up to 25,000 stars for Earth-mass satellites. We discuss future possibilities for spectral retrieval of such bodies and show that transmission spectroscopy with JWST should be able to detect molecular species with ∼ 30 transit events, in the best cases.
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