- The James Webb Space Telescope discovered that there is carbon dioxide and methane on the exoplanet called K2-18b, which is thought to be “habitable”.
- This discovery brought to mind the possibility that the planet could host giant oceans.
- NASA states that it is too early to get excited. Because the oceans on this exoplanet are likely too hot for life.
The James Webb Space Telescope, which has been in Earth orbit since January 2022 and has been providing striking data about the depths of space since then, has made a discovery that will hit the agenda like a bombshell. The telescope managed to make brand new detections about the exoplanet named K2-18b, which was first discovered in 2015, and enabled space scientists to reach important conclusions about K2-18b.
Located about 120 light-years away, K2-18b was long ago classified as a “habitable planet.” The latest study by the James Webb Space Telescope revealed that carbon-containing methane gas and carbon dioxide molecules are present in the atmosphere of this planet.
Experts say the latest discovery supports the idea that K2-18b may have a giant ocean under its atmosphere. If this is truly the case, K2-18b will begin to be known as a planet covered with large oceans, just like Earth.
Methane and carbon dioxide are not the only discoveries of the James Webb Space Telescope regarding K2-18b. The telescope found that the exoplanet may have a dimethyl sulfide component. However, this is not confirmed as of now. If dimethyl sulfide is detected as a result of the studies, there will be a brand new development regarding K2-18b. The component, which is emitted mostly from phytoplankton in the oceans on Earth, will provide evidence that there is actually some kind of life in K2-18b.
NASA states that it is too early to get excited. Because the oceans on this exoplanet are likely too hot for life. Ongoing studies will allow us to get to know K2-18b more closely.
Compiled by: Nazlı Koyuncu