Thursday, September 16

New exoplanets will guide search for extraterrestrial life | Digital Trends Spanish

Researchers at the University of Cambridge, in England, discovered a new class of exoplanets that, according to them, would be excellent targets for the search for extraterrestrial life.

These celestial bodies were called Hycean planets and are covered by oceans with atmospheres rich in hydrogen, which makes them so different from those on Earth.

“These planets open a new avenue in our search for life elsewhere,” says Nikku Madhusudhan, principal investigator at the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy.

“It is exciting that habitable conditions can exist on planets so different from Earth,” he adds.

The researchers also indicate that this important finding “could mean that finding biosignatures of life outside our solar system in the next two to three years is a real possibility.”

According to scientists, Hycean planets can be up to 2.6 times larger than Earth and have atmospheric temperatures of up to nearly 200 degrees Celsius, depending on their host stars.

However, its oceanic conditions could be similar to those conducive to microbial life in Earth’s oceans.

The study also determined the existence of dark Hycean worlds, which are blocked by tides that may have habitable conditions only on their permanent night sides, and cold Hycean worlds, which receive little radiation from their stars.

Either way, these studies are very recent, and scientists hope their work will get a major boost when NASA launches the James Webb Telescope (JWT) later this year.

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