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You are here News Science 'A promising step:' NASA says planet 8.6 times bigger than Earth could support life

'A promising step:' NASA says planet 8.6 times bigger than Earth could support life

NASA says exoplanet could support life

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has uncovered evidence of a possible ocean world larger than Earth with conditions that have the potential to support life.

The exoplanet known as K2-18 b was first discovered in 2015 more than 120 light-years from Earth during the space agency's K2 mission. But Webb's enhanced technology compared to previous space telescopes recently allowed scientists to more closely examine the star-orbiting planet beyond our solar system.

And what they found was nothing short of remarkable.

Observations in 2019 with Webb's predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, previously indicated that the exoplanet — 8.6 times bigger than Earth — could be a "Hycean" world with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and a surface covered by ocean water. Now, a new investigation with the Webb telescope has revealed traces of carbon-bearing molecules in K2-18 b's atmosphere, including methane and carbon dioxide, NASA said Monday.


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