It’s believed that astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope stumbled onto possible signs of life coming from a massive Earth-like exoplanet, K2-18 b. The planet is 8.6 times as massive as Earth and presence of “carbon-bearing molecules” that include methane and carbon dioxide was confirmed. Iit has the potential to hold a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and a water-covered surface, NASA reported. K2-18 b lies 120 light-years from us in the constellation Leo and orbits in the habitable zone of a cooler dwarf star, K2-18.
Observations showed a possible detection of a molecule called dimethyl sulfide (DMS). On Earth, this is only produced by life, most emitted from phytoplankton in marine environments. Nikku Madhusudhan, leading the University of Cambridge research, notes that these results are tentative, and we need to wait for another year at the very least before the presence of DMS on K2-18 b can be thoroughly confirmed. Further observations and theoretical work are needed to learn more about this potentially life-bearing giant.