About 120 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Leo, an exoplanet 8.6 times as massive as Earth revolves around a cool dwarf star K2-18 in the habitable zone of the Universe. Also known as K2-18 b, this planet has a size between Earth and Neptune and is unlike anything in our Solar System. This lack of an equivalent planet in our celestial neighborhood makes it poorly understood, and the nature of its atmosphere is still debated among astronomers.
A new investigation with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) into K2-18 b has unveiled the presence of carbon-bearing molecules like methane and carbon dioxide in its atmosphere. This discovery adds to previous studies that suggest that K2-18 b could be a Hycean exoplanet, a hypothetical planet with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and a surface covered with water ocean.
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