K2-18b Exoplanet

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K2-18b Exoplanet Blog Image


Recently, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope found tentative evidence which suggests signs of life on a distant exoplanet, K2-18b.

About K2-18b Exoplanet:

  • It was first discovered in 2015 more than 120 light-years from Earth during the space agency's K2 mission.
  • It is 8.6 times bigger than Earth.
  • It 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 its atmosphere, including methane and carbon dioxide.

Key points about the James Webb Space Telescope

  • This telescope was built in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.
  • It was launched in December 2021.
  • It is presently at a point in space known as the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point, approximately 1.5 million km beyond Earth’s orbit.
  • Lagrange Point 2 is one of the five points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system.
  • It's the largest, most powerful infrared space telescope ever built.
  • Objectives: It will examine every phase of cosmic history; from the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets to the evolution of our Solar System.

Q1:What is an exoplanet ?

An exoplanet is any planet beyond our solar system. Most orbit other stars, but free-floating exoplanets, called rogue planets, orbit the galactic center and are untethered to any star. 

Source: NASA's James Webb Telescope detects possible signs of life on distant exoplanet K2-18b