Space & Astronomy
Nearby extrasolar world could be first known ocean planet
By T.K. Randall
August 26, 2022 · 33 comments
Have astronomers found a world covered entirely in water ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have identified a relatively nearby exoplanet that appears to be made up almost entirely of water.
The search for life in the universe is synonymous with the search for water and now, if this latest discovery turns out to be correct, scientists may have finally hit the jackpot.
Known as TOI-1452 b, this intriguing extrasolar world is situated only 100 light years away in the Draco constellation and is slightly larger and more massive than the Earth.
What's particularly interesting about it, however, is that its mass is inconsistent with the typical gas giant or rocky terrestrial world, suggesting that it may in fact be comprised mostly of water.
If this is true, then it means that this could be the first known planet with an ocean covering its entire surface.
"TOI-1452 b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet that we have found to date," said astrophysics student Charles Cadieux from the University of Montreal.
"Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than what one would expect for a planet that is basically made up of metal and rock, like Earth."
While at present we don't know for sure if the planet is covered in water or not, the James Webb Space Telescope should be able to help unravel the mystery in the near future.
If TOI-1452 b really is an ocean planet, it would be a prime candidate in the search for alien life.
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