Astronomers Find a New Type of Planet That Could Be Habitable

Artists mockup of a planet with water
ESO/M. Kornmesser

Scientists say aliens could be looking at us as we search for them, and now, astronomers have identified a new type of planet that could potentially be habitable to aliens or some form of life. However, these “Hycean” planets look nothing like Earth.

Research recently published in The Astrophysical Journal talks about a completely new class of planets found far outside our reach. And while we don’t have any in our solar system, they’re actually all over the Galaxy. One of the researchers named these planets “Hycean Worlds” due to being large, warm, having atmospheres full of hydrogen, and they’re covered in giant ocean bodies of water.

Similar to how NASA found evidence of water on a Jupiter moon, which sparked a lot of debate, these Hycean planets could be habitable due to the vast amounts of water on the surface. In addition, the research paper has a theory that these Hycean planets likely have microbial life or potentially more sophisticated alien forms, again thanks to the vast oceans on each planet.

The researchers, led by Nikku Madhusudhan from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, focused on finding Hycean worlds roughly 1.6-times larger than Earth. In the paper, Madhusudhan went as far as to suggest a set of biosignatures that scientists and astronomers can look for if they choose to study any of these planets.

Special telescopes with spectroscopic capabilities could potentially investigate these Hycean planets and look for the biosignatures laid out in the study. If they find anything noteworthy, it’ll be fascinating.

via Gizmodo

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Based in Las Vegas, Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He’s a freelance writer for Review Geek covering roundups, apps, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and TechRadar, and he’s written over 6,000 articles. Read Full Bio »

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