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Astronomers' discovery may prove the existence of life on a distant planet

Astronomers' discovery may prove the existence of life on a distant planet

Of course, it wasn't a little green man winking into a space telescope on a distant planet, but other signs of life have been discovered. Signs that caused a great stir among astronomers.

Astronomy scientists Monitor April 26 It could finally prove that alien life can exist on a distant planet. This important discovery was made of a distant planet twice the size of Earth, called K2-18b.

Is there evidence of life on a distant planet?

Astronomers use a space telescope to examine the planet 120 light-years from Earth. They have been observing this celestial body for some time, and last year they thought they saw a gas called dimethyl sulfide in its atmosphere, a compound that is only “produced by life,” meaning it forms in places where there is evidence of life. .

Constellation Leo: This is the place where the planet is located, and where signs of life are observedMark Garlick/Science Photo Libra/Getty Images Hungary

In order to confirm this discovery, the James Webb Space Telescope was installed on Friday and was observed for hours.

the Science and space However, his fans will have to wait several more months for the results to be verified and published.

It was an important moment

Dr. Niku Madhusudanan astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge who is leading studies of planet K2-18b, described the discovery as an important moment because He believes this supports the theory that ocean water exists beneath the hydrogen-rich atmosphere.

The planet is being observed using the James Webb Space Telescope

The planet is being observed using the James Webb Space Telescopedima_zel / Getty Images Hungary

all of this “Heixian to the world” It is called, a relatively new term To rocky planets with hydrogen-rich atmospheres and oceans. He told The Times that if this can be detected on the planet, it is a strong indication that the planet is habitable.

Although K2-18b was actually discovered in 2015, the presence of water vapor in its atmosphere was only reported in 2019. Then, last year, the James Webb Space Telescope detected carbon dioxide and methane in its atmosphere, as well as Ammonia deficiency.

the Preliminary observations are possible He did the aforementioned Possible detection of a molecule called dimethyl sulfide, which is only produced by life on Earth. In the Earth's atmosphere, most of these phytoplankton that live in the marine environment are emitted, indicating the existence of a similar form of life on the distant planet.

What can create special gas?

Scientists cannot imagine a natural geological or chemical process that could produce this without the presence of living organisms.

Dr Madhusudan says the discovery came as a shock to them, but why These are preliminary observations, and you can only say with 50 percent certainty that this molecule is present in K2-18b. He added that he suffered from insomnia for a week after his discovery.

It takes months to get a definitive answer

Analysis of the eight-hour observation, conducted by the James Webb Space Telescope on April 26, may provide a conclusive answer to the question, but experts will have to wait months for that.

NASA 10 billion dollars His observatory will be able to analyze the chemical composition of the distant planet By capturing the light of the host star as it passes through the planet's atmosphere on its way to Earth.

Although Hessian worlds are expected to be covered in water, researchers say it is possible that the ocean discovered on planet K2-18b could be too hot to live in, but… The final answer remains to be seen.

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