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.