In 2015, scientists discovered the exoplanet K2-18b, and last year, analysis of data from the Kepler, Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes showed the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere. Now, astronomers have carried out a thorough analysis of the obtained parameters of the planet and published the results on the network.
The red dwarf K2-18 in the constellation Leo is located at a distance of about 124 light-years from Earth. Its radius is 2.6 times larger than the earth, and its mass is 8.6 times larger. After analyzing the data obtained from several telescopes, the researchers concluded that there is indeed a large amount of water vapor in the atmosphere on the planet, which confirmed the theoretical ability of man to survive on its surface.
By creating a digital model, scientists at the University of Cambridge discovered that there may be sources of liquid water on the surface of the K2-18b exoplanet. At the same time, the temperature and composition of the atmosphere create habitable conditions.
“Water vapor was detected in the atmosphere of a number of exoplanets, but even if the planet is in the habitable zone, this does not necessarily mean that living conditions exist on the surface. To determine the prospects for habitability, it is important to get a common understanding of the internal and atmospheric conditions on the planet, in particular, whether liquid water can exist on the surface, ”said Nikku Madhusudhan, research leader.
Despite its impressive size, the hydrogen shell of K2-18b does not have to be thick, as previously assumed, and the water layer may have suitable conditions for maintaining life. For a more detailed study, astronomers will have to wait until the end of the construction of a new super-powerful telescope, James Webb, which is able to determine the composition of the atmospheres of exoplanets. It will be ready in 2021.