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Hellish Atmosphere On Exoplanet Gives Hope Of Alien Life

By Editor 08 April 2017

An atmosphere is necessary to keep life from receiving a lethal dose of radiation from the sun. For the first time, astronomers have spotted just such a life-preserving bubble on a planet close in size to Earth. GJ 1132b is about 1.4 times as wide as our planet and has about 1.6 times the mass. It also appears it could have a steamy atmosphere rich in water, oxygen and methane. This sounds like a good thing, but anyone visiting GJ 1132b can expect temperatures around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This is still good news, because GJ 1132b orbits an M dwarf star, one of the most common types of stars. Usually these stars shoot particles that destroy atmospheres, but with this discovery, there is a whole universe of potentially habitable planets waiting to be found.