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"The lack of a smothering hydrogen-helium envelope increases the chances for habitability on these planets," said team member Nikole Lewis of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. "If they had a significant hydrogen-helium envelope, there is no chance that either one of them could potentially support life because the dense atmosphere would act like a greenhouse."
"These initial Hubble observations are a promising first step in learning more about these nearby worlds, whether they could be rocky like Earth, and whether they could sustain life," said Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. "This is an exciting time for NASA and exoplanet research."
"With more data, we could perhaps detect methane or see water features in the atmospheres, which would give us estimates of the depth of the atmospheres," said Hannah Wakeford, the paper's second author, at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Observations from future telescopes, including NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, will help determine the full composition of these atmospheres and hunt for potential biosignatures, such as carbon dioxide and ozone, in addition to water vapor and methane. Webb also will analyze a planet's temperature and surface pressure — key factors in assessing its habitability.
originally posted by: intrptr
Thats a pretty narrow splinter of spectrum data to capture the atmosphere sliver around a planet back lit by the host star so far away.
Interpreting it will be even more difficult.
originally posted by: HUMBLEONE
Seek out are neighbors? What if their ASSHOLES?