Science

NASA discovers 3 new planets; 1 potentially habitable ‘super Earth’

NASA discovers 3 new planets; 1 potentially habitable ‘super Earth’”

The blistering planet GJ 357 b, picked out by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, lies about 31 light-years away in the constellation Hydra.

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite member and associate professor of astronomy Lisa Kaltenegger, who led the global group and who is also director of Cornell's Carl Sagan Institute, mentioned in an announcement the invention of the exoplanet, named GJ 357 d, "is humanity's first nearby super-Earth that would harbor life".

"GJ 357 d is located within the outer edge of its star's habitable zone, where it receives about the same amount of stellar energy from its star as Mars does from the Sun", said co-author Diana Kossakowski at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

The researchers don't know if the super-Earth is rocky like our own planet, but it orbits the star every 55.7 days and has a temperature of negative 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists say they have discovered three new planets outside our solar system that orbit a star situated 73 light years away from Earth.

"TOI-270 is a true Disneyland for exoplanet science, and one of the prime systems TESS was set out to discover,"Günther continued".

That uninhabitable world was the only one around this star spotted by TESS, which scans the skies looking for dips in a star's light that might indicate that a planet is passing, or transiting, in front of it.

Within the system known as TOI-270 there is a rocky super-Earth that is slightly larger than our own planet, as well as two gaseous sub-Neptunes, roughly twice Earth's size. GJ 357 is a small M-type dwarf star, which is 40 percent cooler than the sun.

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has made several discoveries in recent days, including a planet with three suns and a sun with three planets.

A dense atmosphere with the right composition could trap some warmth and allow water to remain liquid on the planet's surface.

By studying objects much brighter than the Kepler targets, it's hoped TESS could uncover new clues on the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. This provides an indication of a transiting planet moving across the star's face. Even though this is just one-fifth the distance of the Earth to our sun, GJ 357 d's dim star leaves the surface very cold.

Follow-up observations and data collected by Earth-based telescopes dating back two decades led to the discovery of the planet's siblings, GJ 357 c and GJ 357 d.

The TESS space telescope, which was created to search for exoplanets, detected the planet in early 2019.

TESS is led and operated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology out of Cambridge and managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The other planet in the system, GJ 357 c, is at least 3.4 times more massive than Earth and orbits the star every 9.1 days.



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