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Published 3 months ago

Distant exoplanet K2-18 b 'could have water ocean and signs of life', scientists say

  • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has detected carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere of exoplanet K2-18 b, a potentially habitable world 8.6 times the size of Earth. This groundbreaking discovery has led astronomers to consider the possibility that K2-18 b may belong to a unique class of exoplanets known as "Hycean" planets.
  • K2-18 b orbits a cool dwarf star called K2-18 within the Leo constellation and sits within the habitable zone. The exoplanet's hydrogen-rich atmosphere, coupled with the abundance of methane and carbon dioxide, suggests the presence of a potential water ocean and the possibility of biological activity.
  • The identification of Hycean worlds like K2-18 b is significant for the search for life beyond Earth, expanding the traditional focus on smaller rocky planets to include larger exoplanets that offer more conducive atmospheres for atmospheric observations.
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