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techkenyot.com February 21, 2018


Scientists Say Newly-Discovered 'Super Earth' Could Be Hosting Alien Life

06 December 2017, 06:58 | Edward Lowe

Scientists Say Newly-Discovered 'Super Earth' Could Be Hosting Alien Life

The super Earth exoplanet 55 Cancri e depicted with its star in this artist's concept likely has an atmosphere thicker than Earth's but with ingredients that could be similar to those of Earth's

As fascinating as this discovery that hints at the possibility of intelligent life beyond our blue ball may sound, the researchers also managed to locate another planet that neighbours the K2-18b, called K2-18c. While learning about the potential super-Earth exoplanet - super-Earth meaning it has a mass similar to Earth - scientists discovered that there could be another exoplanet orbiting its same parent star.

Astronomers have identified a distant exoplanet as a "super-Earth" that has the potential to harbor alien life.

I'd just like to take this opportunity to give a friendly wave to potentially new pals over on K2-18b, in the hope that they will like us, and not want to death-ray us out of existence.

Both planets orbit K2-18, a red-dwarf star located about 111 light-years away in the constellation Leo.

'Being able to measure the mass and density of K2-18b was tremendous, but to discover a new exoplanet was lucky and equally exciting, ' said lead author Ryan Cloutier, at the University of Montreal.

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The latest study, by scientists at the University of Texas, Scarborough, and the University of Montreal, Canada, was conducted out using the data from the European Southern Observatory. By measuring the radial velocities of stars, which can be influenced by the presence of planets around those stars, HARPS can allow for the detection of the planets around the stars.

In a significant breakthrough in man's relentless search for life beyond Earth, a new research claims to have found a planet that could host alien life.

At present, the scientists are not able to distinguish between the two options; however, they feel more data can be collected with the help of the James Webb Space Telescope.

Researchers will have to wait until 2019 to confirm the atmospheric conditions of K2-18b, when NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is set to launch.

Researchers at the Centre for Planetary Sciences have found that K2-18b could very well be a scaled-up version of Earth.

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The discovery of a second planet in the K2-18 star system was something of a good fortune.

The researchers surmised that K2-18b has a mass between six and 10 times that of Earth, making it either mostly rocky with a small gaseous atmosphere or a mostly water planet with a thick layer of ice on top.

In addition to a signal occurring every 39 days from the rotation of K2-18, and one taking place every 33 days from the orbit of K2-18b, they noticed a different signal occurring every 9 days. "If you can get the mass and radius, you can measure the bulk density of the planet and that can tell you what the bulk of the planet is made of", Phys.org quoted Cloutier as saying. This super-Earth-K2-18c-unfortunately, is a much poorer candidate for life.

René Doyon, the paper co-author, feels that there is a high demand to use JWST so one has to be careful while selecting which exoplanets to study.

"When we first threw the data on the table we were trying to figure out what it was".

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