Water vapor — and maybe even rain — found on distant world twice the size of Earth
An artistic rendering of K2-18b. | Image by Alex Boersma
Water vapor has been found in the atmosphere of a distant planet that’s just over twice the size of Earth. It’s the smallest world yet found with water in its surrounding atmosphere, and it’s possible that it even rains liquid water there. That makes this world a tantalizing candidate in the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life outside our cosmic neighborhood.
Finding water around an exoplanet (a world outside our Solar System) is particularly exciting for scientists because water is a critical ingredient for life on our planet. It could equally be pivotal for life that exists elsewhere in the Universe. Researchers have found this precious molecule around exoplanets before, but these worlds have not been suitable places for life to…