- In a first, researchers detect water vapors on an exoplanet’s atmosphere.
- Researchers believe it to be a ‘breakthrough’ discovery and can possibly hint an extraterrestrial life.
- The finding makes the planet to be potentially habitable.
Detecting water in space and on other planets is very important since it can hint on supporting life. In a first, researchers have recently spotted water vapors in atmosphere of a possible exoplanet bigger than Earth.
For the first time, researchers have detected water vapors in the atmosphere of an exoplanet located 111 light years away, which is nine times Earth’s mass.
As per Futurism, the planet dubbed K2-18b was discovered by NASA’s Kepler’s space telescope back in 2015. The team looked at the data gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope between 2016 and 2017.
It is as far away from its star as Earth is from the sun, which means it receives the same amount of energy. This fact, along with the climate models drawn by the team, leads to the fact that the water vapor has the ability to form into liquid water clouds in the exoplanet’s atmosphere and precipitate from its sky in form of rain.
Though the team is not sure if K2-18b is able to support life, they still think the water vapor discovery is a huge one. “This represents the biggest step yet taken towards our ultimate goal of finding life on other planets, of proving that we are not alone,” said lead author Björn Benneke.
“Thanks to our observations and our climate model of this planet, we have shown that its water vapor can condense into liquid water. This is a first,” Benneke continued.
Though water has been detected on other planets before, but they have either been too big or too hot to support life, while the cooler smaller planets are much harder to detect, reported BBC News.