Region beyond the solar system could soon provide signs of life

Region beyond the solar system could soon provide signs of life


According to experts, signs of life can be seen within two to three years. Researchers have mainly looked for planets that are similar in size, mass, temperature, and atmospheric composition to Earth.

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According to experts, signs of life can be seen within two to three years. Researchers have mainly looked for planets that are similar in size, mass, temperature, and atmospheric composition to Earth.

However, the University of Cambridge astronomers believe there could be more promising possibilities after recent work suggested that a “mini-Neptune” more than twice the Earth’s radius and eight times its mass could also be habitable.

The researchers have also identified a new class of habitable exoplanets called Hycean planets.

These are hot, covered by the ocean, and have hydrogen-rich atmospheres – which are more numerous and observable than Earth-like planets. The mini-Neptune, known as K2-18b, is one, and many more could exist.

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Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan, the lead author of the study from the University of Cambridge, was quoted by the Guardian as saying, “Hyceans are basically water worlds with hydrogen-rich atmospheres”.

He added, “We say we can see the first evidence of biosignatures in two to three years if these planets are home to life.”

Madhusudhan pointed out that the small size of Earth-like planets compared to Sun-like stars resulted in weak atmospheric signatures.

This makes it difficult to see signs of life.

However, Hyceans can be more than twice the radius of Earth for a planet, roughly 10 times its mass, and significantly hotter, with average atmospheric temperatures close to 200 ° C.

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