Could K2-18b Sustain Life?
Its name is K2-18 b, also known as…wait for it… EPIC 201912552 b.
It is an exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star, located about 111 light-years from Earth.
If you were able to reach half of the speed of light and travel at that constant speed, you will take about 222 years to get to K2-18b. And we don’t even know how to reach that huge speed. So I guess you and I will never go for a trip to K2-18b planet.
Not only earth-based telescope is being used to catch exoplanets.
In fact, we make large use of some space telescopes, such as the famous Kepler Space Telescope.
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We are living in the Age of Exoplanets!
A lot of Astrophysicists and Physicians, as well as Biologists, are currently involved in projects which try to understand whether in the universe exists other forms of life as we know it, or not.
That’s why we search for exoplanets, hoping one day we’ll find a habitable one, just like ours, the Earth.
As we’ve said, the planet was discovered through the Kepler space telescope, using the transit method.
What scientists found is that it has about eight times the mass of Earth and it completes an orbit around its host star in about 33 days (it means that if we lived on that planet, our year would last 33 solar days!).
It is also in the so-called Habitable zone of the planet, which is what makes it a potential candidate for life as we know it.
But is it enough to be In the habitable zone in order to host life as we know it?
Well, things are harder than that.
First, we should search for some clues about water. Is there water on K2 18 b?
With the help of the telescopes Kepler, Hubble and Spitzer (which works in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum), two independent research studies found that there are significant amounts of water vapour in K2 18 b’s atmosphere.
This was a groundbreaking discovery because it was the first time we had clues of water within the habitable zone of a star.
But is the presence of water the only requirement in order to host life as we know it?
Of course, it is not. Some other factors play a big role in this game.
For example, let’s talk about K2 18 b size and let’s see what we can say about the presence (or not) of life.
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