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Updated February 5th, 2024 at 08:22 IST

NASA Discovers Potential Habitable 'Super-Earth' 137 Light-Years Away with 19-Day Orbit. Know More

TOI-715 b orbits a red dwarf, a type of star that is smaller and cooler than the Sun.

Digital Desk
This illustration shows one way that planet TOI-715 b, a super-Earth in the habitable zone around its star, might appear to a nearby observer.
This illustration shows one way that planet TOI-715 b, a super-Earth in the habitable zone around its star, might appear to a nearby observer. | Image:NASA
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New Delhi: In a groundbreaking discovery, NASA has discovered a potential ‘Super-Earth’ situated 137 light-years away, raising hopes for the existence of extraterrestrial life. The American space agency shared this revelation in a recent press release, describing the newfound planet as orbiting a small, reddish star, at a distance of 137 light-years. Moreover, the same celestial system could potentially harbour an additional Earth-sized planet.

The discovery was made by Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) leveraging its capability to observe shorter orbital periods. The efficiency of TESS in detecting planets with quicker orbit completion times enables scientists to conduct more detailed investigations into the newly found ‘Super-Earth’.

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"A 'Super-Earth' ripe for further investigation orbits a small, reddish star that is, by astronomical standards, fairly close to us - only 137 light-years away. The same system also might harbour a second, Earth-sized planet," NASA stated.

Despite its considerable distance, NASA emphasised the relatively short orbital period of the newfound planet, named TOI-715 b. It is approximately one and a half times larger than Earth and completes a full orbit, or ‘one year’ in just 19 days.

NASA, while expressing optimism regarding the planet's potential habitability, highlighted its position within a ‘conservative’ habitable zone around its parent star. This zone suggests that the planet may have conditions suitable for the presence of liquid water on its surface, a crucial factor for supporting life forms.

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"While several other factors would have to line up for surface water to be present, especially having a suitable atmosphere, the conservative habitable zone puts it in prime position, at least by the rough measurements made so far. The smaller planet could be only slightly larger than Earth and also might dwell just inside the conservative habitable zone," NASA added.

NASA also stated in its release that 'much will depend on the planet's other properties, including how massive it is and whether it can be classed as a - water world. - making its atmosphere, if present, more prominent and far less difficult to detect than that of a more massive, denser and drier world, likely to hold its lower-profile atmosphere closer to the surface'.

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TOI-715 b orbits a red dwarf, a type of star that is smaller and cooler than the Sun. This finding aligns with the prevalence of small, rocky worlds around such red dwarfs. NASA explained that these planets, despite their closer orbits, remain within the habitable zone due to the smaller and cooler nature of red dwarfs. 

 

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Published February 5th, 2024 at 08:22 IST

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