NASA has discovered a potentially-inhabitable planet similar to Earth that is located ‘only’ 31 light-years away from us.
The Earth-like planet is one of three planets of interest that the space agency’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently located.
The GJ 357 d was discovered in the ‘habitable zone’ which is located approximately 31 light-years away and is not too cold or too hot for human beings, and other live beings that we know of, to thrive.
According to the experts, there is a solid possibility that the planet is rocky and contains water. However, further research is required to confirm these suggestions.
“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,” Diana Kossakowski of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy said.
“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.”
Speaking of the promising planet, Lisa Kaltenegger of the Cornell University added:
“This is exciting, as this is humanity’s first nearby super-Earth that could harbor life – uncovered with help from Tess, our small, mighty mission with a huge reach.
“With a thick atmosphere, the planet GJ 357 d could maintain liquid water on its surface like Earth and we could pick out signs of life with upcoming telescopes soon to be online.”
As the reports suggest, the GJ 357 d orbits its sun every 55.7 days.
The other two planets recently discovered, GJ 357 b and GJ 357 c, however, are likely uninhabitable.
“We describe GJ 357 b as a ‘hot Earth.’ Although it cannot host life, it is noteworthy as the third-nearest transiting exoplanet known to date and one of the best rocky planets we have for measuring the composition of any atmosphere it may possess,” Enric Palle of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands said.
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