Did life ever exist on the moon? Maybe! Have scientists found evidence of life on the moon? Definitely not.
Why are we talking about this? A new paper was published online today (July 23) in the journal Astrobiology with a thrilling headline: “Was There An Early Habitability Window for Earth’s Moon?” Its associated press release had an even more exciting title: “Researcher sees possibility of moon life.” Wowza! This is genuinely cool stuff. But it’s important to understand what it’s really saying and what it’s not.
The paper, written by a pair of astrobiologists from Birkbeck College in London and the Technical University of Berlin, offers no evidence that life existed on the moon. In fact, it doesn’t present new evidence of any kind. The paper doesn’t represent the conclusions of any study at all. Instead, it’s an argument, aimed primarily at other scientists, that, based on existing research, there may have been a period in the moon’s history when living things on its surface wouldn’t have immediately died.