Nearby is relative, this world is more than 40 light-years away. Thousands of times farther from us than Pluto is from our sun. But exo-astronomers have narrowed down the likelihood that a planet two and-a-half times more massive than earth may have a water rich atmosphere and possibly vast oceans on its surface:
If Gliese 1214b had a hydrogen atmosphere, then astronomers would expect very strong Rayleigh scattering to occur. However, the results didn’t show that. This indicates that the most likely possibility, given previous research on the planet, is that the planet’s atmosophere is rich in water vapor. (There’s also a chance that it’s a hydrogen atmosphere with lots of clouds, but that’s less likely.)
The researchers intend to do more observations of the planet to more definitively rule out the possibility of a hydrogen atmosophere for Gliese 1214b. However, given the facts to date, a water-rich planet is still the best possibility. Once that’s confirmed, astronomers will have a better idea about how super-Earths, which are fairly common throughout our galaxy, form in the first place.
The planet orbits about once every 1.8 earth days, meaning it is very close to the parent star. But GJ 1214 is a red dwarf with only 0.003% the luminosity of the sun. Its a very dim star and those measurements mean the planet could be a sort of cold Venus. While that might not sound appealing at first glance, a cold Venus could be cool enough to hold liquid water at the ambient surface pressure, meaning it could be habitable for some extremophiles here on Earth.
Gliese 1214B could well be an ocean world. Think of a much larger version of Europa or Titan, with a liquid surface instead of an icy planet-scape made hard as steel by sub-freezing temperatures. Red dwarfs are highly variable, lots of magnetic storms and loops during active portions of their cycle. If the alien skies are clear enough, the parent star would be huge and glowering on the sunny side of the planet’s surface, not unlike the image above.