NASA has been detected an atmosphere around a planet that astronomers have said is Earth-like, with the name of Gliese 1132b.
The planet is said to be in the Vela constellation, 39 light years away. This makes the planet hugely promising for those looking for extra-terrestrial life.
NASA: PLANET MAY BE A WATER WORLD WITH ATMOSPHERE OF HOT STEAM
While astronomers say that they still have a lot to learn about the planet, early findings seem to suggest that the planet may be a water world that has an atmosphere of hot steam. This would, in fact, be a great place to search for extra-terrestrial life.
The planet has a mass that is around 1.6 times the mass of Earth, while the radius is 1.4; these findings make GJ 1132b very similar to earth. Astronomers pointed out that at the moment observations haven’t given them much insight into just how much alike the planet might be to Earth, or whether it is habitable.
NASA: ATMOSPHERE AROUND THE PLANET IS A HUGE STEP FORWARD
While it is going to be a long time before scientists and astronomers gain insight into the planet, just the mere fact that atmosphere has been detected is a huge step forward. The planet orbits the red dwarf star Gliese 1131 and this was studied with the ESO/MPG telescope.
A slight dip in brightness over 7 wavelengths of light when GJ1132B passed over the front of the host star every 1.6 days was measured and this gave scientists a better understanding of how big the planet was and the composition of it.
Different possible versions of the atmosphere found from NASA around the planet were modelled by scientists and they discovered an atmosphere that is rich in methane and water may explain what they have seen.
Before this, the only exoplanets to be found with atmospheres around them had been 8 times bigger than
Earth along with having gas giants similar to those of Jupiter. This new discovery from NASA leads scientists and astronomers to believe that the atmosphere may be possible of enduring bombardment of huge solar flares for billions of years and not be destroyed.
This leads NASA to believe that thousands of planets that are orbiting low-mass stars may have atmospheres. A large number of low-mass stars along with planets may mean that the conditions are suitable for hosting life in the universe. While scientists and astronomers have still got a lot to learn about GJ1132B, it may not be too long before we do get some answers.
The new planet and its atmosphere are high priority targets that will be studied using the James Webb Space telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope.