NASA telescope for the first time recorded traces of water vapor in the atmosphere of the exoplanet K2-18b. It is located in the “habitable zone”, which means that there may be water in liquid form on its surface. This is stated on the NASA website.
Traces of water in the atmosphere were discovered by astronomers from the Center for Space Ecochemistry in London based on data from the Hubble for 2016 and 2017. If this is confirmed in further studies, then K2-18b may become the only known exoplanet with water in the atmosphere and surface temperature allowing it to have liquid water.
K2-18b discovered the Kepler telescope in 2015. It is located 110 light years from Earth in the constellation Leo and revolves around a small red dwarf star.
Despite the possible similarity with the Earth, K2-18b is 8 times larger, and gravity on its surface is much stronger. In addition, due to the activity of the red dwarf, the exoplanet can be exposed to powerful radiation – this can interfere with the nucleation or development of life.
K2-18b – one of the “super-Earths” – exoplanets with masses between the Earth and Neptune, found by “Kepler”. NASA expects that hundreds of similar objects will be detected in the coming years, and a new generation of telescopes like James Webb will help to more accurately determine the composition of their atmosphere.