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Scientists discover nearby super-Earth

Scientists discover nearby super-Earth

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of NASA has found three new extrasolar planets at a distance of 31 light-years away from Earth. These were found orbiting an M- dwarf star called GJ37 in the hydra constellation.

 The star is 40 percent cooler than our sun and much larger than our Earth. Among the three planets found, the furthest one is the most habitable. GJ 357d is about 6.1 times the size of earth has the largest potential among the three to sustain life, as it has the right temperature to have liquid water.

“GJ357d is located within the outer edge of its stars habitable zone, where it receives about the same amount of stellar energy from its star as Mars does from the Sun”, said Diana Kossakowsi, study co-author at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. “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”.

The terrain of this planet remains unknown, although it takes 55.7 days to orbit. GJ357 b is the closest exoplanet among the three; it is 22% larger and 80% more massive than Earth. The temperature is 490 Fahrenheit which makes it very hot. It completes its orbit in 3.9 days. GJ357 c comes in between these two with a temperature of 260 degrees Fahrenheit and is about 3.4 times larger than Earth.

Jack Madden, a doctoral candidate explained that the investigation would continue since these provide an opportunity to test the theories. “Just knowing that liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet motivates scientists to find ways of detecting signs of life,” said Jack Madden. These findings make the exoplanet research more exciting and give hope to mankind of life beyond Earth.

Joseph Nies

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