Water Worlds: New Findings Prove Life Beyond Earth Is Much More Likely

In a stark reversal of scientific consensus researchers now estimate that most of the known exoplanets are likely made of up to 50% water. The discovery trails more recent findings on the Moon and Mars which further verify that water is much more common then they originally thought. New estimates increase the probability of extraterrestrial life existing beyond the Earth and raise hope for the future of space colonization.
The announcement was made at the Goldschmidt conference in Boston, Massachusetts, after research conducted by the exoplanet hunting Kepler Space Telescope and European Space Agencies Gaia Telescope estimated the internal structure “By mass measurements and recent radius measurements”
“Our data indicate that about 35 percent of all known exoplanets which are bigger than Earth should be water-rich,” said lead researcher Li Zeng of Harvard University.
He also suggested that many of these exoplanets could be veiled in an atmosphere of water vapor so that the water need not exist in any one state alone.
These new findings illustrate a galaxy teaming with the life supporting compound hydrogen dioxide. Especially in planets 2-4 times the size of Earth scientists estimate that they could be made of up to 50% water –
impressive in contrast to planet Earths humble 0.02% water mass.

The reason for this? Most of the spotted exoplanets outside of our system are twice the size of earth, and so fall in to that range of probability. Though there maybe smaller planets, they reflect much less light an so have evaded discovery by our telescopes thus far.

“We have looked at how mass relates to the radius and developed a model which might explain the relationship”, said Li Zeng.


“The model indicates that those exoplanets which have a radius of around x1.5 Earth radius tend to be rocky planets (of typically x5 the mass of the Earth), while those with a radius of x2.5 Earth radius (with a mass around x10 that of the Earth) are probably water worlds,” he added


As far as water in our own local solar system is concerned the Italian Space Agency recently revealed evidence of liquid water below the surface of Mars south pole. Dr. Vladimir Airapetian has mentioned that it May take 3 years to find life on mars if it does indeed exist, given these new findings.

On the moon scientists are now certain there exists water ice at both the north and south pole, and possibly even at mid-latitude.

On Saturnian Moon Europa and Jovian Moon Enceladus we already knew  there were expansive planet wide oceans just below a cold surface of solid ice. What we didn’t discover until relatively  recently was organic chemistry on enceladus  – spewing from plumes of water that erupt from the moons icey surface we found organic compounds, that is – carbon molecules that aggregate to form life here on Earth.

Furthermore, new research from Europa suggests that life may exist only 1cm below the icey surface.

EDIT: Even more recent surveys of Jupiters red spot have revealed the existence of water vapor on the solar systems largest gas giant. Over the past month evidence of water in space has exploded to a point were its now entirely transformed our perspective of extraterrestrial life and the feasibility of space colonization.

Water-rich exoplanets, between two-four times the size of Earth are common: Study- Technology News, Firstpost
The new research indicates that many of the known planets may contain as much as 50 percent water.
image: mark ward
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