Astronomers Discover A Potentially Habitable Exoplanet 30 Light Years Away

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Astronomers discovered a potentially habitable planet 30 light-years away. For the first time, scientists were able to discover a potentially habitable planet at a relatively short distance from Earth. The Earth-like exoplanet is located 31 light-years away and it has been named GJ 357 d.  The discovery of the exoplanet was announced in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, where a team of Spanish astronomers published their study.

According to an article published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the planet was first detected at the beginning of the year by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). TESS is a mission specially designed to explore the universe in the search exoplanets.

Lisa Kaltenegger, professor at Cornell University, is a member of the Tess science team. According to her, the discovery is an important milestone for humanity. GJ 357 d is the first nearby super-Earth that humanity has ever discovered and it implies many exciting possibilities.
The newly-discovered exoplanet is substantially bigger than our home planet and, as Kaltenegger believes, it offers scientists an opportunity to observe and analyze the circumstances surrounding Earth’s heavyweight planetary cousins.

Astronomers Discover A Potentially Habitable Exoplanet 30 Light Years Away

“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 telescopes that will soon be online,” Kaltenegger said. The scientists that made the discovery say that the planet is located inside a distant solar system centered around an M-type dwarf sun. The system only includes three planets, one of them being GJ 357 d.

The other two planets in the system, GJ 357 b and GJ 357 c, both seem to have habitable conditions, but their temperatures are not well fitted to sustain life.  GJ 357 d orbits its sun every 55.7 days at a distance about 20% of Earth’s distance to our sun.

Jack Madden, another member of the team, said: “We built the first models of what this new world could be like. Just knowing that liquid water can exist on the surface of this planet motivates scientists to find ways of detecting signs of life.” If the planet shows signs of sustaining extraterrestrial life, it could be the answer to one of humanity’s most debated questions: Are we alone in the universe?

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.