“Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope say they have stumbled onto possible signs of life coming from a massive Earth-like exoplanet, NASA confirmed in a release.
K2-18 b is an exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — that’s 8.6 times as massive as Earth. A new investigation with the JWST revealed the presence of “carbon-bearing molecules” that include methane and carbon dioxide. The findings add to recent studies that suggest that K2-18 b could be a Hycean exoplanet, meaning it has the potential to hold a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and a water-covered surface, NASA reported.
Astronomers first studied K2-18 b’s atmosphere with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2019. The results prompted further studies of the massive exoplanet that have changed experts understanding of the system.
“Our findings underscore the importance of considering diverse habitable environments in the search for life elsewhere,” explained Nikku Madhusudhan, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge and lead author of the paper announcing these results.
What is K2-18 b?
K2-18 b is an exoplanet that lies 120 light-years from us in the constellation Leo and orbits in the habitable zone of a cooler dwarf star, K2-18.” – TheHill | Posted by Thrillz