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James Webb Discovered A Potentially Habitable Ocean Planet

The James Webb Infrared Space Telescope has determined that exoplanet LHS 1140b, previously thought to be a super-Earth, may be protected by a habitable planet with a global water ocean and an atmosphere of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. This model best describes exoplanet observation data.

Planet LHS 1140b orbits a red dwarf with a mass of 0.18 solar masses. It is located quite close to the star, but the weak radiation of the central star does not overheat its surface, and this is important, because for a planet with a global ocean, increased insolation automatically creates a greenhouse effect and death to all living things.

The researchers determined that there was no evidence of methane or carbon dioxide in the spectrum, which does not support the idea of ​​a hydrogen-rich atmosphere with high-altitude clouds or photochemical haze. A version of a nitrogen atmosphere without traces of absorption by other molecules is also unlikely. A plausible explanation for the low density of LHS 1140b is a water-rich (about 10 percent of the planet’s mass) envelope and atmosphere with a possible predominance of molecular nitrogen, water vapor and carbon dioxide. Beneath the ocean there may be an icy mantle, which may be partially or completely mixed with the underlying rocky mantle.

In short, if there is a global ocean on LHS 1140b, then the temperature of the water on its surface is above the freezing point, which means it is potentially suitable for the emergence of biological life

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