Can life exist on a planet without a surface?
In the search for life outside our planet, scientists are looking to planets that may be similar to Earth, except they may be water worlds.
Sub-Neptune sized planets are some of the most common and easiest to study. The Webb Space Telescope recently discovered a planet of this kind that appears to have organic molecules like methane and carbon dioxide.
However, they don’t have a solid surface — something that we’d assume necessary for life to develop.
Sara Seager, a professor and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that she believes these aqua planets could change our understanding of planets outside our solar system and the search for life.
“These sub-Neptunes—we did put this idea forward a while back that they could have oceans beneath their surface, these planets might defy our understanding. We think some of these sub-Neptunes might be water worlds," Seager said.
Scientists now believe that the galaxy formed a lot quicker than previously thought.
The Webb Space Telescope has given us some incredible insights on our universe over its past year, and the discoveries keep coming out at a steady pace.
A new observation seems to raise questions on our understanding of the evolution of galaxies and our understanding of the universe.
Eric Perlman, a professor of physics and space science at Florida Tech, says that these findings are changing our understanding of the universe's timeline.
“Our models say that there is a first generation of stars, and that we should be looking at that first generation of stars," Perlman said. "But what this data is telling us is that there had to have been at least one generation of stars before the stars that we are seeing. And so, the question is, how did that happen?”