TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The moon could have supported life during two windows of its history, four and 3.5 billion years ago, a new research claims.

A study published in the journal Astrobiology has found that simple lifeforms could have survived on the lunar surface during two periods 3.5 and 4 billion years ago.

The study was conducted by two scientists, Professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist at Washington State University, and Professor Ian Crawford of Birkbeck, University of London, Sky News reported.

They believe the moon must have been spewing out so much super-heated volatile gas, including water vapor, during these periods that it could have sustained life.

"If liquid water and a significant atmosphere were present on the early moon for long periods of time, we think the lunar surface would have been at least transiently habitable," Professor Schulze-Makuch said.

It is also believed that the early moon had a magnetosphere – a magnetic field which would have deflected the sun's deadly electromagnetic radiation – similar to Earth's.

Professor Schulze-Makuch says life could have originated in the same way it did on Earth – with self-replicating molecules becoming more and more complex while continuing to reproduce.

However, he believes the more likely scenario is that life would have been brought in by a meteorite.

The earliest evidence for life on Earth is of fossilized bacteria that are between 3.5 and 3.8 billion years old – a time when the solar system was being bombarded by meteorites.

Professor Schulze-Makuch believes it is possible a meteorite could have blasted off Earth and transported similar life to the moon.