Recently, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published a paper on the discovery of carbon-containing molecules on exoplanet K2-18 b. The results were discovered from data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST); This suggests that the planet may present an ocean-covered surface and a hydrogen-rich atmosphere.

Other observations, including those from the Hubble Space Telescope, have already shown that the planet may be a Hycean-type celestial body; well, probably has a surface composed of water and an atmosphere composed of hydrogen. K2-18 b is about 8.6 times more massive than Earth and orbits the cool dwarf star K2-18. It is located 120 light-years from Earth in the constellation Leo.

In a study recently published in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, scientists state that K2-18 b is between the sizes of Earth and Neptune and is therefore classified as a ‘sub-Neptunian’ planet. They believe this because it is a Hycean type exoplanet. perhaps it is a promising environment for the search for some form of life as we know it.

“Our findings highlight the importance of considering a variety of habitable environments when searching for life elsewhere. Traditionally, the search for life on exoplanets has focused primarily on smaller, rocky planets, but larger Hycean worlds are significantly more amenable to atmospheric observations,” explained the paper’s lead author. , Nikku Madhusudhan, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge. WE.

Exoplanet containing water and hydrogen

The data shows that the celestial body has plenty of methane and carbon dioxide, but a shortage of ammonia; Therefore, they believe that there is a surface covered by an ocean of water and an atmosphere rich in hydrogen. scientists too Dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a molecule that suggests evidence of life, was detected in K2-18 b — Most of the DMS production in the world is carried out by phytoplankton in water.

Information from the James Webb Space Telescope was collected by the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) and Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instruments. Although K2-18 b is in an area known as the habitable zone, this does not mean that there is actually life on the star; It’s no surprise that researchers continue to study exoplanets to find more answers.

“Webb’s upcoming observations should be able to confirm whether DMS is indeed present at significant levels in K2-18 b’s atmosphere. Our ultimate goal is to identify life on a habitable exoplanet that will change our understanding of our place in the universe. Our findings will enable us to delve deeper into the Hycean worlds in this quest.” It is a promising step towards understanding,” Madhusudhan concluded in an official NASA statement.

Did you like the content? Stay up to date with all astronomy discoveries on TecMundo and take the opportunity to discover what science knows about giant exoplanets and their exotic atmospheres.

Source: Tec Mundo

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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