Water Discovered on Super-Earth Planet, Making It the 'Best Candidate for Habitability'

Girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, everybody go to planet K2-18b to survive apocalyptic weather brought on by climate change? Maybe, because data from the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed planet K2-18b, a super-Earth 111 light-years away, has water vapor in its atmosphere. That means, according to astronomers, it’s the “best candidate habitability that we know right now.” 

Astronomers have been using the Hubble Space Telescope to explore unknown territory for a while now. Why? Because the Earth is in chaos (aaaand maybe a little bit of research is for funsies). With this technology they’ve been able to capture images of star deaths and births, as well as incredibly wide and deep shots of the universe. But this new finding is stellar. Hehe.

K2-18b was discovered in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. At the time, astronomers speculated that the world would be unlike our own. Because it was eight times the mass of Earth, it was likely an icy or rocky world. The planet orbits around seven times closer to its star than the Earth does to the sun, but because of the composition of the star it orbits, the planet might still be habitable, according to a report by National Geographic.

Fancy tests revealed to astronomers that the “effective temperature” of K218b, which is not the same as the temperature we measure with a thermometer, is between -100 and 116 degrees Fahrenheit. If this super-Earth reflects sunlight to the same degree that our Earth does, both should be around the same temperature. So we could chill there. Theoretically.

University College London astronomer Angelos Tsiaras, a co-author of one of the two studies detailing the new findings, said during a press conference that “[K218b] is the only planet right now that we know outside the solar system that has the correct temperature to support water, it has an atmosphere, and it has water in it.” 

So, basically, we should all start packing up our Nalgenes and camping gear. SLASH invent a way to travel 111 light-years without getting a serious backache. 

h/t National Geographic

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.