Aliens have always fascinated us. Science keeps coming up with more and more understanding of their existence and gives us fresh facts that make it even more interesting to read about them.
Alien hunters and their being focus largely on Earthlike planets. We know that earth-the blue planet has an atmosphere that is conducive to living here. But the universe has a large number of habitable planets which may not be necessarily like earth.
As per a new study, researchers identify one such class of alien worlds — ‘Hycean planets’, These are up to 2.5 times larger than the earth and feature huge oceans of liquid water beneath hydrogen-rich atmospheres.
Hycean planets appear to be quite abundant throughout the Milky Way galaxy. They could host microbial life similar to the ‘extremophiles’ that thrive in some of the earth’s harshest environments.
Hycean worlds are similar in size to rocky ‘super-Earths’ and gassy ‘mini-Neptunes.’ These are two of the most common types of exoplanets in the galaxy.
Some Hyceans orbit is so close to their stars that they are tidally locked. And some orbit very far away, receiving very little stellar radiation.
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But the study suggests that life could exist even on such extreme Hyceans.
Moreover, Hyceans could prove to be good places to search for potential biosignature gases such as oxygen and methane.
Hycean life hunt could start soon. Researchers have identified a number of Hycean worlds whose atmospheres could be scrutinized by next-generation observatories such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.
This hunt will open new avenues in the search for exoplanets in the universe. Not only this, the results could change history forever.
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