Hopefully atmosphere observations in the future — of thick steam atmospheres — can support or refute the new findings. Goldschmidt Conference
Many of these detected exoplanets are larger than Earth, but it sounds like a lot of that extra mass is water – up to 50% of the planet’s weight, while water on Earth is only 0.02%. Our watery blue world is a desert in comparison.
It makes me wonder… if our Sun had more heavy elements, would Earth be larger? Would it have captured more of the solar system’s water? Would you and I be fish?
We have earlier generations of stars to thank for any watery world including our own. Hydrogen is, of course, everywhere – the most abundant element starting from the Big Bang. But heavier elements owe their existance to fusion within stars and subsequent nova and supernova explosions. That includes oxygen. So water seems to be common in the galaxy.