One of the two exoplanets astronomers recently discovered, located 100 light-years away from Earth, shows the potential of hosting life as it meets certain criteria – including possessing the necessary conditions to have liquid water on its surface.
“The outer planet is in the inner edge of what is called the habitable zone, a bit like the Earth is,” explains Amaury Triaud, who studies exoplanets at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and is a member of the team who made the discovery.
About 40% larger than Earth, the newly found exoplanet is only 6 million kilometers away from its sun while our planet sits at a distance of 150 million kilometers from ours. Life remains possible despite this proximity because the promising planet’s sun is 6.5 times smaller and half the temperature of ours. The James Webb Space Telescope will be used to find out if the planet has an atmosphere and what it is made of should it have one, to gain more data about the possibility of hosting life on it.