Water discovered for first time in atmosphere of habitable exoplanet

Super-Earth K2-18b Planet Water

Super-Earth K2-18b Planet Water

K2-18b is not "Earth 2.0" as it is significantly heavier and has a different atmospheric composition. However, the radiation coming from its host star might be hostile to life, so this alien world might not sustain life right now. The team used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope and developed open-source algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b's atmosphere.

For the first time, researchers have detected water vapor signatures in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system that resides in the "habitable zone", the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

Water vapour was found in the atmosphere of K2-18b, one of the hundreds of "super-Earths" - worlds ranging in size between Earth and Neptune - documented in a growing new field of astronomy devoted to the exploration of so-called exoplanets elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy.

"Given it's so far away we don't really have any other choice but stay on our own Earth, so it's important to make Earth great again rather than looking for an alternative to go to", Tsiaras said. The temperature on the planet is thought to be roughly 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), according to The Guardian, but that relatively balmy temperature doesn't mean K2-18b is conducive to human life.

"In the next five or ten years the James Webb Space Telescope and others are being launched that are created to ... find more details of the atmosphere". This alien world has drawn the attention of astronomers from NASA after the researchers from the Center for Space Exochemistry Data at the University College London in the United Kingdom discovered it.

While water already has been identified in the atmospheres of hot gas giants circling other stars, the latest findings represent the first detection of water vapor in the atmosphere of another type of exoplanet, Tsiaras said.

"We need to know much more about the planet". While the planet is close enough to its host star that it only takes 33 days to complete its orbit.

The tenable zone is the locale around a star where temperatures are adequately considerate for water to exist in fluid-structure on the outside of a planet.

There search in the space also detected signs of water vapour in the atmosphere and Earth-like temperatures that could potentially support life.

The surface, meanwhile, could be wet or dry.

"Maybe not quite your vacation destination just yet", Waldmann joked.

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