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HomeTechNASA James Webb Space Telescope makes big discovery about rocky planets

NASA James Webb Space Telescope makes big discovery about rocky planets


The NASA James Webb Space Telescope has unmatched capabilities of capturing deep space beyond our galaxy going as far back as almost to the point of the Big Bang event event. Now, a new study by the eXtreme Ultraviolet Environments (XUE) program revealed observations about water and other molecules being present in the regions where rocky planets form and that too under extreme environmental conditions. This study has stunned researchers as it challenges the previous theories about where rocky planets develop. Know more about the James Webb Space Telescope findings here.

James Webb Space Telescope findings

According to a NASA report, The eXtreme Ultraviolet Environments (XUE) James Webb Space Telescope program studied protoplanetary disc which is also known as massive star-forming regions with extreme environmental conditions. The study revealed that the region is responsible for the formation of various planetary systems along with how exoplanets have been created.

The research consisted of studying 15 disks distributed across three distinct areas of Lobster Nebula which is also known as NGC 6357. It is located 5500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Scorpius. The Lobster Nebula is the host for various massive stars present in our galaxy which emits huge amounts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Now with the James Webb Space Telescope, researchers will be able to study the “effect of UV radiation on the inner rocky planet forming regions of protoplanetary disks around stars like our Sun,” said NASA.

Also read: NASA OSIRIS-APEX set for unprecedented solar approach on mission to asteroid Apophis

XUE program aims to study such physical properties and chemical composition of the rocky planet present in the Lobster Nebula with the help of Medium Resolution Spectrometer on Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). Arjan Bik of Stockholm University in Sweden said, “Only the MIRI wavelength range and spectral resolution allow us to probe the molecular inventory and physical conditions of the warm gas and dust where rocky planets form.”

The study focused on the protoplanetary disk called XUE 1 which is suspected to be exposed to high amounts of ultraviolet radiation. However, even after extreme conditions, scientists have identified a diverse array of molecules crucial for the formation of rocky planets. This new discovery can change various theories which revolve around the formation of these rocky planets.

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