But in smaller amounts than expected.

Yeah, Got That Water

After surveying 19 exoplanets, a University of Cambridge-led research team found 14 had water vapor in their atmospheres — more than they’d expected. The amount of water vapor, meanwhile? Less than they’d anticipated. Yet: These new insights could go a long way toward narrowing our hunt for extraterrestrial life.

It’s important to know about even the most remote presence of water elsewhere “[given] that water is a key ingredient to our notion of habitability on Earth,” project leader Nikku Madhusudhan said in a press release,

Hot Data

For their survey — results of which were published on Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters — the researchers gathered spectroscopic data on the 19 exoplanets using numerous telescopes, including Hubble and Chile’s Very Large Telescope.

Using that data, they were able to estimate amounts of various chemicals in the exoplanets’ atmospheres — and hope to do the same for additional exoplanets in the future.

“We look forward to increasing the size of our planet sample in future studies,” Madhusudhan said. “Inevitably, we expect to find outliers to the current trends as well as measurements of other chemicals.”

READ MORE: Water common – yet scarce – in exoplanets [University of Cambridge]

More on exoplanets: Exoplanet “Water Worlds” Could Hold Unfathomably Deep Alien Oceans


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