NASA Discovers Earth-Like Planet Just 31 Light Years Away

NASA Discovers Earth-Like Planet Just 31 Light Years Away GJ 357 bNASA

In a galaxy not so far, far away, NASA have discovered an Earth-like planet along with two others. 

The space and aeronautics organisation used their Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to find a nearby super-Earth – which could potentially be habitable.

After a short 31 light year journey, you can reach GJ 357 d, a planet which orbits around its star at a nice distance – not too hot, but not too cold.

Check out NASA’s video below:

NASA scientists are working to conclude whether GJ 357 d’s atmosphere can accommodate liquid water.

As reported by the MailOnline, Diana Kossakowski, from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg explained: 

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. 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.

Details published in the Astronomy & Astrophysics journal showed that NASA scientists used TESS to see that the star – GJ 357, an M-type dwarf – was dimming every 3.9 days in February. This was an indicator that planets were circulating around it.

Lisa Kaltenegger, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, believes it’s possible that the new planet could harbour life.

As reported by the MailOnline, Kaltenegger said: 

This is exciting, as this is humanity’s first nearby super-Earth that could harbour 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.

GJ 357 d orbits its star every 55.7 days, at a range of about 20 per cent compared to Earth’s distance from the Sun. Its star, GJ 357, is about 40 per cent cooler than our Sun.

The nearest of the three planets, GJ 357 b, is around 22 per cent larger than Earth, and orbits its star around 11 times closer than Mercury does to the Sun.

NASA Discovers Earth-Like Planet Just 31 Light Years AwayNASA

Enric Palle, an astrophysicist at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, told the Mail Online

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.

This exciting news follows the MailOnline‘s report on July 29 that NASA discovered another Earth-like planet in a star system just 73 light years away.

We should probably start looking for potential places to move – earlier this week, a ‘city killer asteroid’ came scarily close to Earth.

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