AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Newly Discovered Exoplanet Has Water


Recently, scientists discovered an exoplanet the size of Neptune that has water. The planet, HAT-P-11b, is roughly four times the size of Earth. It is the smallest known exoplanet to have water, as all the exoplanets outside our solar system that have been found to contain water are the size of jupiter. Scientists were able to discover the presence of water vapor due to its ability to absorb infrared light whenever it passed in front of the star it was orbiting. Currently, the possibility of other worlds containing living conditions similar to our own world is extremely important. We are constantly searching to prove the question “are we alone in the universe”. Only recently, however, have we been able to start finding these exoplanets. With the discovery of each new exoplanet we learn more and more about our universe, and the possibility of other habitable worlds. This newly discovered exoplanet may not be habitable, but the mere presence  of water on it allows us to realize there is a good chance that there are many worlds similar to ours with the possibility of sustaining life.

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  1. nyrsoccer

    Very cool! In my mind there is most likely other intelligent life, possibly more advanced than us, in the universe. More and more evidence is being discovered that supports the claim of a planet capable of obtaining life. Water is one of the key indicators that a planet has potential. One thing that particularly intrigues me is the thought that eventually the sun will make the Earth inhabitable for human life as we know it, and we might actually migrate to different planets! If that were to happen and we were the only intelligent species then could we colonize the universe?

    And if we aren’t the only intelligent life will we eventually one day have to coexist amongst the universe with species from other planets.

  2. herarst

    Very cool and interesting article. It’s always fascinating when a new planetary discovery is made. There is so much we don’t know about space that it almost seems endless. Since we started observing the skies we’ve found over 1,000 exoplanets ( and we are still learning new things about them. How far can our observatories see? What is the definition of an exoplanet?

  3. gergory

    Good article! I am also very interested in the potential presence of extra-terrestrial life. I always wonder to myself if there are other living things out there, and personally do believe so for many reasons. I looked up other findings of water, and by reading, learned that we actually found water molecules on the moon in 2009. Learning this was very exciting to me, and makes me believe even more that there is other life in the Universe.

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