NASA Just Found A New Planet That May Be Habitable For Life

There is always the question of whether we are alone in the universe. Undoubtedly, we live on a planet that is perfect in every way, from the distance it is from the sun to the liquid water that allows life to exist.

For some years, NASA has been busy finding other planets that revolve around other stars throughout our galaxy. Some of these planets are similar to our solar system’s gas giants. Others are similar to Earth.

Photo: YouTube/NASA Goddard

According to a press release, researchers recently found a new exoplanet in the TOI 700 system, a dwarf star located some 100 light-years away from our own planet. The newly discovered planet is one of four that they found in the system and is in the correct position for life.

The planets, known as TOI 700 b, c, d, and e, all revolve around that dwarf star, but two of those planets, D and E, fall into the habitable zone. That area, sometimes known as the Goldilocks zone, is the proper distance from the sun so that water would remain a liquid. As such, it could provide a habitable environment.

A postdoctoral fellow at NASA, Emily Gilbert, said: “This is one of only a few systems with multiple, small, habitable-zone planets that we know of.”

Photo: YouTube/NASA Goddard

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is responsible for the data that helped scientists to find these new planets. It is approximately the size of Earth but is likely a rocky planet. Planet E orbits the star in 28 days, and planet D does so in 37 days.

Planet B, which is closer to the star, is about 90% of the size of the Earth. It orbits the star in 10 days. TOI 700 c is much larger than the Earth and travels around the star in a 16-day pattern. It is thought that the planets probably only spin one time per orbit, a condition that is known as being tidally locked. As a result, one side will always face the sun, and the other side will be in permanent night.

It’s interesting that they are able to use discoveries, such as the TOI 700 system, to learn more about our own solar system and planet. Scientists feel that it will help provide future insights into our solar system and perhaps even may point the way to other worlds.

Photo: YouTube/NASA Goddard

TESS got its start in 2018 to observe the sky but went back to the southern sky in 2020. That is when it found the new planet. Its mission was to find planets and stars that were previously undetectable.

The cameras on TESS allow it to monitor over 80% of the sky, looking for exoplanets within a 300-light-year radius. It looks at various portions of the sky for almost a month at a time, giving it an opportunity to track variations in the brightness of stars. That is an indication that a planet is crossing between the star and TESS.

Since they started looking, NASA has been able to find more than 5000 exoplanets and confirm them. These not only include planets similar to the Earth, but also gas giants and water worlds that really bend the imagination.

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