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Water Detected For The First Time On Potentially Habitable 'Super-Earth' Planet

Water Detected For The First Time On Potentially Habitable 'Super-Earth' Planet

"This is the first time that we have detected water on a planet in the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is potentially compatible with the presence of life," Prof Tinetti said.

If you have been feeling whether we, humans, are on the verge of completely destroying Mother Earth, astronomers have something that might sound quite exciting to you. 

Well, in a major breakthrough, researchers have now discovered water for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. And what's more interesting? It has Earth-like temperatures and could potentially support life. As reported by BBC.



 

 

Calling the discovery as "mind-blowing", lead scientist Prof Giovanna Tinetti of University College London (UCL) said: "This is the first time that we have detected water on a planet in the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is potentially compatible with the presence of life."

Artist’s Impression of Earth k2-18b, via UCL

 

The exoplanet, which has been termed 'K2-18b', is a potential world for mankind to search for alien life. The details of the pathbreaking discovery were published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy. The observation was made with the Hubble Space Telescope, which analyzed starlight filtered through its atmosphere.

 



 

 

According to the report, K2-18b is 111 light-years, which in layman terms is about 650 million miles away from Earth. And as you may have guessed, it is impossible to send a probe that far. As reported by Reuters. Nor is it possible for humans to travel there. (So let's work on making this world a better place, shall we?) 

"This is one of the biggest questions in science and we have always wondered if we are alone in the Universe," Dr. Waldmann told BBC. "Within the next 10 years, we will know whether there are chemicals that are due to life in those atmospheres."

 



 

 

Meanwhile, Dr. Angelos Tsiaras, UCL team member, added that water found in the atmosphere of a "potentially habitable exoplanet was incredibly exciting".
"It brings us closer to answering the fundamental question: Is the Earth unique?" he asks. 

This is said to be the first time astronomers have found water in the atmosphere around a Super-Earth - as opposed to a gas giant - orbiting a star within its “habitable zone.” 

 



 

 

Dr. Beth Biller at Edinburgh University's Institute of Astronomy believes that alien life on a planet around a distant star might eventually be discovered at some point in time.

"That would be a paradigm shift for all of humanity," she told BBC News. "It's not going to be ET phoning home, necessarily - more likely microbes or some other simple life. Even so (when it happens) it's going to be huge".

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