- Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/ESA/G.
NASA spots habitable Earth: NASA’s TESS probe just discovered the closest nearby SuperEarth, and according to the US space agency, it is habitable!
NASA spots habitable Earth: The planet, dubbed GJ 357D, orbits a star approximately 31 light years distance from Earth. The super-Earth is in so-called habitable zone, an area far enough from its star to not be too hot but close enough to not be too cold. This “Goldilocks” region is possible for liquid water to exist on the surface of a planet if it is rocky, although further research is needed to confirm whether GJ 357D’s atmosphere is dense and warm enough to host liquid water.
The new discovery is known as an exoplanet, a planet that orbits a star outside of our own solar system. Exoplanets are not easy to identify with telescopes. This is because they are often hidden by the bright light of the stars they orbit.
In an effort to help discover such planets, NASA launched its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, last year. TESS was designed to expand upon the work of previous exoplanet discoveries made with telescopes. More than 3,500 new exoplanets have been discovered over the past 20 years.
A super Earth? NASA spots habitable Earth
A super-Earth is a planet that has a mass between one and 10 times that of Earth. The team of astronomers says the newly-discovered exoplanet – called GJ 357 d – is about 31 light-years away from our solar system. The planet orbits a star named GJ 357. NASA said in an announcement that the planet appears to orbit within its star’s “habitable zone.”A leading member of the research team was Diana Kossakowski from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. She said in a statement that GJ 357 d should be receiving about the same amount of energy from its star as Mars does from the sun.
NASA spots habitable Earth: “If the planet has a dense atmosphere, which will take future studies to determine, it could trap enough heat to warm the planet and allow liquid water on its surface,” Kossakowski said. NASA says the planet’s mass is at least 6.1 times Earth’s and it orbits its star every 55.7 days.
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