As space agencies like NASA are busy searching for signs of ancient alien life on Mars, a team of astronomers has suggested that humans may discover extraterrestrial life within the next three years. However, according to these researchers, these signs of life that could revolutionize human understanding of the universe will be detected from hycean planets, and not from planets within the solar system.
Hycean planets and the possibility of alien life
According to astronomers who were part of this study, one of the so-called hycean planets that goes by the name 'Mini-Neptune' K2-18b might have the right conditions to host life. It should be noted that this planet is much bigger than the earth, and it is majorly covered with oceans. Researchers believe that this planet has enough heat and hydrogen to sustain life.
And now scientists have apparently found healthy levels of methane, ammonia, and signs of water vapor in the planet's atmosphere, and it has made experts believe that this space body could be holding some unknown secrets of alien life.
'Mini-Neptune' K2-18b is approximately 124 light-years away from the earth, and it is in the habitable zone of its star system.
Hyceans: The water worlds
"Hyceans are basically water worlds with hydrogen-rich atmospheres. We are saying that within two to three years we may see the first biosignature detection if these planets host life. At the bare minimum, microbial life should be possible," said Dr Nikku Madhusudhan, a Cambridge astronomer who is the lead author of the study.
Madhusudhan also made it clear that more studies should be carried out to confirm the existence of extraterrestrials on hycean planets.
A few months back, NASA chief scientist Jim Green had suggested that alien life will be discovered on Mars in 2021. Green also claimed that human beings are not ready to accept the realities surrounding alien existence.