Scientists have spotted new details on a distant planet, in a major breakthrough that could transform the search for alien life.
The new information was gathered using Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope. Since it was launched last year, scientists have hoped that the telescope could be used to study the details of other planet’s atmospheres, and give us a better understanding of their conditions.
Now researchers say they have gathered a whole new level of observational data about another planet, known as WASP-39b. They found entirely new information about its atmospheric chemistry, its clouds and data about its chemical composition that could tell us how the planet was formed.
Researchers say the findings are a “game changer”, and the beginning of techniques that could allow researchers to find life on other worlds.
They are reported in five new papers, published in Nature, which show the full power of the James Webb Space Telescope and are a hint to what it could show in the future.
Nasa’s JWST has already changed our understanding of the cosmos, with the release of stunning images that show galaxies and stars in more detail than ever before. But much more is still to be done with the telescope, and scientists have been using it to examine other objects from planets in our solar system to the most distant galaxies in the universe.