Potentially habitable exoplanet could broaden search for life beyond Earth

29 Février, 2020, 08:57 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • The new exoplanet has been likened to a mini Neptune More

"The thermodynamic conditions at the surface of the H2O layer range from the supercritical to liquid phases, with a range of solutions allowing for habitable conditions on K2-18b", the researchers wrote in the study's abstract.

With a bulk density between Earth and Neptune, K2-18b may be expected to possess a H/He envelope.

Discovered in 2015, K2-18b has a radius of 2.6 times that of Earth and is about 8.6 times as massive.

For most of human history, the question of whether or not extraterrestrial life exists has been philosophical.

Last autumn two different teams of astronomers detected water vapour encircling the exoplanet.

The presence of an enormous, Neptune-size exoplanet 90 light-years from Earth has been confirmed after it was first spotted in 2019. If this hydrogen layer is too thick, it would increase the exoplanet's temperature and pressure, making it inhospitable.

It may sound familiar - that's because it made big news past year when astronomers found water vapour in its atmosphere.

Rafael Nadal cruises into quarter-finals at Acapulco tennis
A two-time champion of the event, top seed Nadal cruised past Spanish compatriot Pablo Andujar 6-3 6-2 on Tuesday. And this is what Dimitrov will be watching very closely as he heads into their semifinal against the Spaniard.

Budget 2020: Moody's likely to downgrade SA, says economist
South African political analyst Daniel Sile said Mboweni had presented a "credible yet politically risky budget". The government budget deficit now stands at 6.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Singapore probes local chapter of sect linked to South Korea outbreak
South Korea has released 26 fully recovered novel coronavirus patients from hospitals as of Friday morning, the KCDC said. The infection numbers in the southeastern city of Daegu and North Gyeongsang stand at 1,314 and 394, respectively.

It is, however, too early to determine whether any life exists on K2-18b.

The online publication mentioned above notes that a team of researchers in the United Kingdom describe in The Astrophysical Journal Letters the way in which they were able to calculate a range of possible atmospheres for the planet, "based on its mass, size, and previously measured spectra of light that passed from K2-18b's star through its atmosphere". "To establish the prospects for habitability, it is important to obtain a unified understanding of the interior and atmospheric conditions on the planet", Madhusudhan said. And it's within the habitable zone of its star, or the right distance from the exoplanet to the star that means liquid water can exist on the planet's surface.

The researchers noted that whether these levels can be attributed to biological processes remains to be seen. In the present work, we investigate the atmospheric and interior properties of K2-18b based on its bulk properties and its atmospheric transmission spectrum. "We explored a wide range of possible interior compositions that could explain all the data together, including the measured mass and radius of the planet". Even though the red dwarf star is much cooler than our sun it still emits the same heat and liquid water can be stable as well on the planet's surface.

And they found the maximum amount of hydrogen that could explain the observed properties of the planet was around 6 percent of its mass - although most of the solutions had far less hydrogen.

"We wanted to know the thickness of the hydrogen envelope - how deep the hydrogen goes", said Matthew Nixon, a PhD student at Cambridge University.

This study opens the search for habitable conditions and bio-signatures outside the solar system to exoplanets that are significantly larger than the Earth, beyond Earth-like exoplanets, they said.

The techniques used by the Cambridge experts can be refined further by using future observations from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. The minimum is similar to Earth.



Here Are Two Teaser Posters For The Upcoming Monster Hunter Movie
It's far from the only movie based on a video game in development right now - we've got a huge list of projects in the works . Here's a look at posters for the upcoming Monster Hunter movie, starring Milla Jovovich , Tony Jaa , and Ron Perlman .

Saudi Arabia to have richest horse racing competition
Furthermore, The Saudi Cup is expected to attract around 10,000 spectators and it will be run over 1,800 metres on a dirt track. Currie and six others are to compete in a points-based challenge over four races with seven male riders led by Frankie Dettori.

Hornets' Malik Monk suspended indefinitely for violating the NBA's anti-drug program
Monk, 22, is averaging 10.3 points in 55 games this season, his third with the Hornets . So if he's suspended for the rest of the season (25 games), he'd lose $915,545.

Un journaliste américain active par erreur des filtres Facebook pendant un direct
La séquence est devenue virale sur les réseaux sociaux et a fait rire de nombreux internautes. Il s'est amusé de la scène en postant des photos de lui avec les filtres.

Trump Renominates John Ratcliffe for Director of National Intelligence
President Trump's tenure has been marked by public feuds with the USA intelligence community. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to be the Director of National Intelligence ( DNI ).

India beat New Zealand by four runs
But it was slim pickings outside of her glorious innings, with India fortunate New Zealand weren't more polished in the field. But there are some niggling issues that they would like to address before they enter the business end of the World Cup.

Prince Harry meets Bon Jovi
The new single is in aid of the Invictus Games Foundation , which oversees the Invictus Games and which Harry founded. Jon Bon Jovi talking about his musical collaboration with Prince Harry on "The Chris Evans Show" on February 26, 2020.

Hershey Med School grad named to VP Mike Pence’s coronavirus task force
Facing lawmakers' questions Thursday about the new organizational chart, Azar said Pence would now fill that role. The stock market is having its worst week since 2008 . " Mike Pence literally does not believe in science".

Clive Cussler, prolific author and sea explorer, dead at 88
Clive will be greatly missed by his second wife, Janet, daughters Teri and Dayna, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. So I was determined not to write about a detective, secret agent or undercover investigator or deal in murder mysteries.

World Health Organization raises global virus risk to maximum level
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced a temporary ban on foreigners from entering the country to visit Islam's holiest places. Simone Venturini is an official in the Italian city of Venice, where tourism has already been hurt by last year's flooding.