A team of astronomers has identified three exoplanets which are located beyond the borders of the solar system, at a distance of 73 light-years from Earth. They are among the smallest and close exoplanets found in recent times.
The feat was achieved with the help of the NASA’s powerful spacecraft known under the name of TESS (or Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). The spacecraft was launched in 2018 with the primary goal of locating close stars which have the potential to support life.
Within the newly found solar system, which has been classified as TOI-270, the scientists managed to spot a giant Earth-like planet which is a bit larger than our planet. A pair of gas planets which are twice the size of Earth are also present. It is thought that the furthest planet in the group may feature a temperature range which can support the existence of life.
NASA’s TESS Spotted Three Exoplanets At 73 Light-Years From Earth
The theory regarding the furthest one of the three recently found exoplanets is may not be too solid as the atmosphere of the planet in question seems to be too dense that it generates a powerful greenhouse effect which may compromise any water sources.
In this case, the scientists are confident that a large number of exoplanets can be found beyond TOI-270 d, which is the furthest planet of the system. The new data is also quite attractive since it may offer valuable insight into the existence of a new type of planet which is perceived by some as the missing link in planetary formations.
It is represented by the type of planet which is between rocky planets and ones which are dominated by gas. Many questions stem from the fact that various kinds of planets tend to develop within a solar system. Unlike other spacecraft which were launched in the past TESS was built with deep-space exploration in mind as its powerful toolkit allows it to peer at most of the sky in an attempt to identify new planets. More details can be found in a paper which was published in a scientific journal.