First evidence of water discovered on exoplanet

Nasa exoplanet Space research

Representative image of an exoplanet

The tenable zone is the locale around a star where temperatures are adequately considerate for water to exist in fluid-structure on the outside of a planet. The exoplanet could be a potential super-Earth (a planet with mass lesser than the masses of ten Earths), hinting at the probability of life outside the solar system. While it's thought to be rocky, no one knows if water's flowing on the surface.

This K2-18b is not the only planet our scientists have discovered with the possibility of life but the one seems to possess liquid water which could feed human life.

"This represents the biggest step yet taken towards our ultimate goal of finding life on other planets, of proving that we are not alone", Bjorn Benneke, of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montréal in Canada and lead author of the study, said in a statement. For instance, it's unclear just how much K2-18b's atmosphere holds. "But it brings us nearer to answering the basic question: Why is the Earth unique?"

Now, as observed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a habitable-zone exoplanet, dubbed as K2-18b, presents water vapor in its atmosphere. Computer modelling of the data suggested that up to 50% of its atmosphere could be water.

By comparison, the percentage of water vapour in Earth's atmosphere varies between 0.2 per cent above the poles, and up to 4 per cent in the tropics.

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They also observed the signatures of hydrogen and helium in the atmosphere, two of the most abundant elements in the universe.

Researchers are hopeful that other elements like nitrogen and methane could also be present in the atmosphere.

A new study conducted by a team of researchers has detected water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet outside the solar system.

Water is a must in the quest for life, in part because it absorbs oxygen.

"Life as we know is based on water", said Tinetti.

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Its size and surface gravity are much larger than Earth's, and its radiation environment may be hostile, but a distant planet called K2-18b has captured the interest of scientists all over the world.

"Probably, this is the first of several discoveries of potentially habitable planets", explained UCL astronomer Ingo Waldmann, plus a co-author.

"This is not only because super-Earths like K2-18b are the most common planets in our galaxy, but also because red dwarfs - stars smaller than our Sun - are the most common stars".

However, Sara Seager, an astronomer at MIT who was not involved in either study, cautioned to Grossman that the presence of rain remains speculation until further observations are made, perhaps with the more NASA's more powerful James Webb Space Telescope.

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