For the first time in the history of astronomy, scientists have unravelled an Earth-like planet orbiting a far off star with traces of water. Does this imply that life outside of Earth is possible?
The atmosphere of exoplanet K2-18b harbours water vapours. It is one of the hundreds of ‘Super-Earths’ that scientists have discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope.
Impossible to reach K2-18b
- The size of this super planet ranges somewhere between that of Earth and Neptune. This exoplanet system has been found in growing research which devotes itself to finding new exoplanets across Milky Way galaxy.
- More than 4,000 exoplanets have been uncovered through this research but K2-18b is the first ever to harbour water in its atmosphere.
- Discovery of K2-18b was reported during research by a team of scientists at University College London. The research paper on this Super-Earth was consequently published in the peer-review journal, Nature Astronomy.
- The Exoplanet K2-18b is the first time scientists have found water in the atmosphere of a planet which is in close to perfect orbit around its star. Water may potentially exist on the surface of K2-18b.
- It is worth noting that this planet lies in the orbit of a dwarf star in the Leo constellation. This star is at least 100 lightyears from our planet.
- Sun’s light takes about 8 minutes to hit Earth’s surface. Comparing this to the light from the star of K2-18b, it is a huge difference.
- This directly implies that light from this star takes about a century to reach our planet. This consequently means it is impossible for humans to take the journey to find if the planet is habitable. Travelling to this exoplanet is nothing more than a science-fiction dream with the technology that humans possess today.
- Humans have no choice other than to fix our own planet and make Earth great again.