Monday, April 15News That Matters

Science

Webb Data Reveals ‘Habitable’ Zone Planet with Rare Oceans and Possible Life Sign

Webb Data Reveals ‘Habitable’ Zone Planet with Rare Oceans and Possible Life Sign

Science
Recent observations from the James Webb Space Telescope indicate the potential presence of flowing waters on the surface of the massive exoplanet K2-18b, located approximately 120 light-years away from Earth. Situated within the habitable zone of the cool dwarf star K2-18, this exoplanet is 8.6 times the mass of Earth and exhibits key features that could support bodies of water and potentially even life. Analysis of Webb's observations reveals that K2-18b possesses an atmosphere rich in methane and carbon dioxide, with a notable absence of ammonia. This composition suggests the possibility of an atmosphere abundant in hydrogen, enveloping an oceanic world—a promising sign given that carbon serves as the foundation for life as we know it on Earth. The initial detection of water vapor...