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太阳系外的“迷你海王星”可能很快就会出现生命迹象

‘Mini-Neptunes’ beyond solar system may soon yield signs of life

Signs of life beyond our solar system may be detectable within two to three years, experts have said after rethinking the kinds of planets that may be habitable.

专家们在重新考虑适宜居住的行星类型后表示,太阳系外的生命迹象可能会在两到三年内被探测到。

Researchers have mostly looked for planets of a similar size, mass, temperature and atmospheric composition to Earth. But University of Cambridge astronomers believe there may be more promising possibilities after recent work suggested that a “mini-Neptune” more than twice the radius of Earth and more than eight times as massive may also be habitable.

研究人员一直在寻找与地球大小、质量、温度和大气成分相似的行星。但剑桥大学的天文学家们认为,最近的研究表明,一个半径是地球两倍多、质量是地球八倍多的“迷你海王星”可能也适合居住,因此可能有更大的可能性。

They have now identified a new class of habitable exoplanets, called hycean planets – hot, ocean-covered and with hydrogen-rich atmospheres – which are more numerous and observable than Earth-like planets. The mini-Neptune, known as K2-18b, is one and there could be many more in existence.

他们现在已经确定了一类新的宜居系外行星,称为海洋行星——热的,被海洋覆盖,大气中富含氢气——它们比类地行星数量更多,也更可观测。被称为K2-18b的迷你海王星就是其中之一,可能还会有更多。

Read more at The Guardian

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