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James Webb Space Telescope confirms potential habitability of TRAPPIST-1 world

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If atmospheres are confirmed to exist on at least some of the TRAPPIST-1 planets, scientists will determine their atmospheric composition and look for possible biosignatures.

As scientists strive to determine whether life can exist anywhere outside Earth, NASA researchers believe that an exoplanet orbiting the TRAPPIST-1 star is potentially habitable. I pointed out the important factors that make it clear whether there is.

Located in a star system about 40 light-years away, these planets are the subject of the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which seeks to determine whether these worlds have atmospheres.

As NASA astrobiologist Sean Dormagal-Goldman explained, the question—whether or not these planets have atmospheres—is “critical to habitability.”

“The moon receives as much energy from the sun as Earth does, but it doesn’t have an atmosphere, so it has no oceans and no global biosphere,” said Domagal-Goldman. Newsweek. “So answering the habitability of these worlds is the first question: whether they have atmospheres. This is also the simplest thing Webb can observe.”

“The question of whether TRAPPIST planets in the habitable zone have atmospheres is a question that will be raised by everyone, perhaps in the next five to ten years, using JWST and other facilities to explore possible worlds in the habitable zone. It’s the most important scientific question or observation to do.”

Previous observations made before the JWST went online already suggested that at least some of the rocky planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system are orbiting stars in the habitable zone.

Artist's impressions of the ultracold dwarf TRAPPIST-1 seen from near one of its planets - Sputnik International, 1920, April 6, 2022

Astronomers find super-Earth four times larger than ours in nearby star’s ‘habitable zone’

However, if planets have atmospheres, scientists must determine the composition of these atmospheres before they can draw any conclusions about the habitability of these worlds.

“If you want to look for the kind of biosignatures that we have on Earth, oxygen and ozone from plants and algae, that’s a great biosignature because if you look at it, you can see that non-biological processes Because it’s unlikely to be generated,” said Domagal-Goldman.

However, confirming the presence of ozone and oxygen can be somewhat difficult. This is because atmospheres rich in them can contain cloud decks that can pose problems in detecting these gases.

“If you look at methane in relation to these other gases that are destroying it, and you know that those other gases are being replenished as well, it’s not only the methane is there, but it’s very – Goldman pointed out, “If methane is known to be rapidly depleted, it needs to be rapidly replenished, and that rapid replenishment is biodegradable.” It’s a signature.”



https://sputniknews.com/20220806/james-webb-space-telescope-to-ascertain-potential-habitability-of-trappist-1-worlds-1099339200.html James Webb Space Telescope confirms potential habitability of TRAPPIST-1 world

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