Water discovered on ‘Super-Earth’ raises first real hope of alien life

K2-18b, which is eight times the mass of Earth, is now the only planet orbiting a star outside the Solar System, or ‘exoplanet’, known to have both water and temperatures that could support life. The discovery, published today in Nature Astronomy, is the first successful atmospheric detection for an exoplanet orbiting in its star’s ‘habitable zone’, at a distance where water can exist in liquid form.

Dr. Colin Vincent, Head of STFC’s Astronomy Division, said: “Finding other planets that might have the capability to support life is one of the holy grails of astronomy research. This result based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope gives an exciting taste of what may be possible in the next few years as a number of new telescopes and space missions supported by STFC and the UK Space Agency come online.”

phys.org/news/2019-09-potentially-habitable-planet.html

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