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James Webb to investigate possible signs of life on exoplanet K2-18b

By T.K. Randall
April 27, 2024 · Comment icon 8 comments

Is there alien life on K2-18b ? Image Credit: NASA
A gas discovered in the atmosphere of this distant extrasolar planet is 'only produced by life', say scientists.
Situated in orbit around a dwarf star 124 light years from Earth, K2-18b has remained one of the most promising candidates for life since its discovery back in 2015.

Classed as a 'mini-Neptune' with a radius about 2.6 times that of the Earth, this enigmatic world is situated in its star's habitable zone, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on its surface.

Last year, a lot of excitement ensued after it was discovered that there was dimethyl sulphide in the planet's atmosphere - a gas that, as far as we know, is only produced by life.

"It was a real shock, I had sleepless nights for a week," said study leader Dr Nikku Madhusudhan.
"That week, I didn't even muster the courage to break it to my own team."

So have the scientists really discovered an alien ocean full of marine life on another world ?

Hoping to help answer that question, the team will be using new data from the James Webb Space Telescope to analyze and scrutinize the findings over the next few months.

Only then will they be able to confirm that they really have found genuine evidence of alien life.

An interview in which Dr. Madhusudhan discusses the discovery can be viewed below.

Source: The Times | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Vox 2 months ago
Amazing.  People like him should be the real stars in our world.  Not the Kardashian’s and the like.
Comment icon #2 Posted by OpenMindedSceptic 2 months ago
Looks v promising. Alien life!! We normally only see it in UFO's.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Antigonos 2 months ago
Absolutely. You hit the nail right on the head.
Comment icon #4 Posted by joc 2 months ago
We have not detected life in UFOs.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Trelane 2 months ago
I'm not sure if I missed it, but what type of star does this planet orbit? Where is it it in it's life cycle? These are important questions to be asked as well regarding the possibility of life. Despite what some folks may think of my skeptical views in the UFO sub forums, I would love for there to be definitive proof of life existing there.
Comment icon #6 Posted by ChrLzs 1 month ago
Oh wait.  Surprisingly, (not), it turns out this was a very premature claim, and needs to be properly investigated.  It turns out, Madhusudhan doesn't know as much as he thinks...  From Sigh.  Surely, folks, alarm bells should have rung when you saw the video title text about being the "Most Famous Person" - to a genuine scientist, that is NOT their priority.  It seems rather odd that Professor Nikku Madhusudhan and/or his team don't know the limitations of the instruments they are reading... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by sanchez710 1 month ago
It makes total sense that in the whole universe with billions of planets in the habitable zone there must be some with some form of life. Even if it's primitive such as bacteria or amoebas.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Trelane 1 month ago
It is estimated but very far from conclusive. Also being inside a "habitable zone" is only place holder for their proximity to their parent star. They don't specify what type of stars necessarily. Those amazingly high numbers of possibility get whittled away pretty quickly once those other , and very important, factors get added to the equation.

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