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This exoplanè te observed by James Webb could be favorable for life

The James Webb space telescope discovered a potential ocean as well as molecules containing carbon on a distant exoplanet. Heading towards this distant world which could have some surprises in store for us.

Discovered in 2015 by the Kepler telescope, K2-18b is an exoplanet evolving at high speed. 120 light years from Earth. Qualified mini-Neptune, this star has the particularity of to be in the habitable zone of its star, a red dwarf located in the constellation Leo. We have known since 2019 that the atmosphere of this distant planet was rich in hydrogen thanks to measurements made by the Hubble space telescope, but new information has revealed that the atmosphere of this distant planet was rich in hydrogen. thunderous news about the environment of this world has just reached us.

This time, it was the James Webb telescope which turned his instruments towards this star and discovered the presence of methane and carbon dioxide as well as the absence of ammonia. These elements are all clues to the existence of a hidden ocean. under the planet's atmosphere. The icing on the cake is that scientists believe they have detected traces of diethyl sulfate, a molecule which on Earth is only produced by living organisms. Enough to arouse curiosity researchers searching for signs of life in the Universe.

A habitable planet?

While these discoveries are promising, they do not allow conclusions to be drawn. On the one hand, the presence of organic molecules is not yet confirmed and does not prove the existence of a form of life on the planet . This molecule could be the product of a reaction not involving any living being. On the other hand, it is far from certain that this exoplanet is habitable. Indeed, the ocean that would cover the surface of this world could be far too hot to support life. Its temperature could even be too high for the water to maintain its temperature. a liquid state.

To find out more about this mysterious planet, the James Webb telescope will have to carry out in-depth studies using its cutting-edge equipment. In particular, it should use its MIRI instrument capable of observing in the infrared and analyzing the composition of the atmosphere of K2-18b.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116