An illustration of the exoplanet K2-18b (Image: Amanda Smith)

An illustration of the exoplanet K2-18b (Image: Amanda Smith)

Astronomers have discovered that an exoplanet than twice the size of Earth is potentially habitable and could support alien life.

A team from the University of Cambridge analysed the mass, radius, and atmospheric data of the exoplanet K2-18b and found that it’s possible for the planet to host liquid water.

The exoplanet is 124 light-years away, 2.6 times the width of Earth and 8.6 times the mass of our planet.

It orbits its star within the habitable zone, which means it could be at the right temperature which allows liquid water to exist.

Last year, two different teams reported the detection of water vapour in its hydrogen-rich atmosphere.

‘Water vapour has been detected in the atmospheres of a number of exoplanets but, even if the planet is in the habitable zone, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are habitable conditions on the surface,’ said Dr Nikku Madhusudhan from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, who led the new research.

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Exoplanet twice the size of Earth could be home to alien lifeforms, astronomers say
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