07-12-2017 12:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
A distant exoplanet has potential of supporting life
Scientists have concluded that a little-known planet 111 light years away has the potential to support life. According to new research, the exoplanet known as K2-18b could be a ‘scaled-up version of Earth’ which is able to host alien life.
The Super-Earth was found to orbit within its star’s habitable zone which underlines the possibility of liquid on its surface.
The new study was carried out using data from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) by researchers at the University of Texas, Scarborough, and University of Montreal, Canada.
They were also excited to find, in the course of their research, that the planet has a neighbour, called K2-18c. Lead author Ryan Cloutier, from the University of Montreal, said: “Being able to measure the mass and density of K2-18b was tremendous, but to discover a new exoplanet was lucky and equally exciting.”
They found that the planet is bigger than the earth and probably has a rocky surface with a gaseous atmosphere. It might mostly be a water planet with a thick layer of ice, but further investigation was needed.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope which will be launched in 2019 will further probe the atmosphere of K2-18b.