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Alien life could thrive on Hycean planets

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 16:30 PM (GMT+7)

The search for alien life should be broadened, a new study suggests. The universe has a variety of planets, some of which are habitable despite conditions incompatible with Earth’s.

Describes life on the Hycean planets.

In the new study, the researchers identified types of alien planets, of which Hycean – an oceanic planet with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere in the outer solar system – 2.5 times larger than Earth, would be new promised land for extraterrestrial life.

Hycean planets appear to be extremely abundant throughout the Milky Way, possibly home to the kind of microorganisms that thrive in the most extreme environments.

“Hycean planets open new avenues in our search for life in outer space,” said Nikku Madhusudhan, of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Study co-author Anjali Piette, from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, said in a statement: “It will be interesting to see how habitable conditions could exist on planets so different from Earth’s.”

A hunt for life on the planet Hycean could soon begin. Madhusudhan and his colleagues expect to identify several Hycean planets once NASA’s $9.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope is launched into space later this year.

These potential targets orbit small, dim red dwarf stars 35 to 150 light-years from Earth.


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