Life off Earth? Astronomers discover possibly habitable exoplanet system

An international group of astronomers has located an exoplanet — planets outside the Solar System — with characteristics that make it possibly habitable. The discovery was made using the VLT telescope, which belongs to the European Southern Observatory, located in Chile.

The research identified that the planet orbits the star L 98-59, 35 light-years away from Earth. The exoplanet has a composition of approximately 30% of the water on its surface and is in a “potentially habitable” zone, a place that can promote the existence of life.

In addition to this, there are also five other planets in this system, three of which are rocky and may have water in their interior or atmosphere, information that researchers have not yet confirmed. The others, however, are closer, and because of that, they are dry.

According to information, current telescopes are not capable of detecting biosignatures on other planets. However, discovering a possibly habitable exoplanet is a good starting point for the search for other systems with a chance of harboring human life.

This system has been studied for some years, and in 2019 astronomers were able to identify an exoplanet in the L 98-59 system, but only in 2021 was the team able to locate other planets that were “hidden” and were found thanks to the Very Large Telescope (VLT).

The planet in the habitable zone may have an atmosphere that could protect and sustain life,”

The expectation is that technological advances will allow researchers to obtain new information about planets outside the Solar System.