Last Updated on August 25, 2021 by MyGh.Online
We could prove aliens exist within two years, say astronomers.
A new class of potentially habitable planets has been identified – taking the search for extra-terrestrials a giant step forward. Dubbed Hycean planets, they are hot, with hydrogen-rich atmospheres and deep oceans.
A British team is searching for “biosignatures” on them – molecules that are signs of life.
Dr Nikku Madhusudhan, from Cambridge University, said: “Hycean planets open a whole new avenue in our search for life elsewhere.
“We have been focusing on planets similar to Earth, which is a reasonable place to start. But we think Hycean planets offer a better chance of finding several trace biosignatures.
“It would transform our understanding of life in the universe.
“We need to be open about where we expect to find life and what form that life could take – as nature continues to surprise us in often unimaginable ways.”
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The findings massively improve the chances life has evolved elsewhere and could be widespread. Scientists hope to find it with the James Webb Space Telescope, launching later this year.
The most promising planet – known as K2-18b – is 110 light-years away.