You probably shouldn't sound the alarms quite yet, but scientists did just announce the discovery of water vapor on a far-away planet that is now considered one of the best known candidates to host alien life.
In findings released Tuesday and Wednesday, scientists detected water vapor, and likely clouds and rain, in the atmosphere of K2-18 b, a planet that's about 110 light years away from Earth. K2-18 b is about twice the size of Earth and eight times as massive, Space.com reports, and it orbits a red dwarf star from a distance where water could exist in a stable state on the world's surface, also known as the "habitable zone."
University College London's Angelos Tsiaras told Space.com that, when taken together, the evidence of water and its distance from its star, makes K2-18 b "the best target for habitability that we know right now." As always, though, there's plenty of reason to pause. There's still a lot scientists don't know about the world — for example, the atmosphere could contain anywhere between 0.01 percent and 50 percent water, and nobody is quite sure what the surface is like, either.
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A lot of these questions will be difficult to answer, but researchers are hopeful that they might be able to chip away at some of them following the launch of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope in 2021. Read more at Space.com.
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