The exoplanet K2-18b, located 124 light-years from Earth, was discovered in 2015 in the constellation Leo in the orbit of the red dwarf star K2-18. After analyzing the atmosphere of the discovered object, scientists found traces of the presence of a large amount of water vapor on the planet. If we consider that water is the basis of life, then what are the chances for mankind to finally discover those very long-awaited brothers in mind?
Planet K2-18b is a rather interesting object to study. Orbiting in the habitable zone of its star, the exoplanet is approximately 2.6 times wider and 8.6 times more massive than our home planet. Similar sizes put the discovered object between the Earth and Neptune, classifying the planet as super-earth. However, can any life arise in a place so different from the blue planet?
Despite the fact that there are no planets in the solar system with the characteristics of super-earths, scientists give quite optimistic forecasts about the possible climatic conditions on K2-18b. So, apparently, the planet discovered in relative cosmic proximity to the Earth has a thin, hospitable atmosphere and large reserves of water, so necessary for the survival of any living organisms known to us.
In order to find out how the theory described above corresponds to reality, researchers from the University of Cambridge analyzed data on the composition of the atmosphere of the exoplanet. During the simulation, it was found that the outer shell of K2-18b is rich in hydrogen and contains a large amount of water vapor. In addition, it was found that methane and ammonia are also present in the planet’s atmosphere, but in much smaller quantities than previously thought.