Are moons more habitable than planets?
Little bit of a poll, which is more habitable? A planet or a moon. By habitable, i mean all life, microbial and complex.
I personally think more life will be on moons, because a) there are more moons than planets. And b) with planets, there is only 1 habitable zone, around the star. But moons can be instead in the habitable zone of the planet, of which there are more planets than stars. 3) we have more examples of liquid water (or other suitable solvent) and organic compounds on moons than planets, within our solar system.
However, i do not believe that complex life (eukaryotic or multicellular) is commonplace, and are especially rare on moons. This is due to how moons often lack a magnetosphere of their own (sometimes provided by the parent planet) and also, habitable moons may be further away from the star, and so recieve much less light. They also have points at which they are eclipsed by their parent planet. Which wouls bring large seasonal changes to life if it was similar to earth. Planets are much more hospitable to complex life for these reasons.
Oh, and moons usually lack a substantial atmosphere. There is that too. What are your thoughts?
"Either this wallpaper goes, or I go"- Oscar Wilde's last words
In my opinion the most important thing when it comes to habitability is the atmosphere. The fact that it is quite rare for moons to be large enough, and hence hold on to a substantial atmosphere makes me a bit skeptical.
An atmosphere if thick enough can allow a planet to have liquid water in a much larger orbit, or can allow for life not to be harmed by stellar activity (just like our ozone layer).
I mean Europa seems to have an abundance of ice, and maybe even water deep under the surface, so maybe very simple life could be in the question. But for me planets are more likely.
For me as well as the common lack of magnetosphere, imagine the tidal effects of the planet on it's moon. Our moon has considerable effects on earth with tides etc. but imagine vice versa, this will cause earthquakes etc. that could be very harmful to life developing or thriving!
PlanckTime - Amin