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NASA discovers a super-Earth close to our planet

NASA discovers a super-Earth close to our planet

NASA's orbiting telescope recently discovered a rocky planet that is 30 to 70 percent larger than Earth. But everything becomes more interesting because this exoplanet, now called TOI-715 b, even though it is located in another solar system, is only 137 light-years away, which can be considered close to Earth.

Discovery alert! A giant Earth ripe for further investigation orbits a small, reddish star that, at least by astronomical standards, is fairly close to us – only 137 light-years away. The system itself may also have a secret: a second Earth-sized planet!

—NASA Exoplanets (@NASAExoplanets) February 1, 2024

But NASA now has more information about this giant Earth, which apparently orbits within the habitable zone of its parent star. For this reason, the North American Space Agency believes that “the planet may have the right temperature for liquid water to form on its surface.”

NASA explains that several other factors are necessary, “such as the right atmosphere” for the presence of surface liquid water.

The now discovered exoplanet orbits close to its star, with each orbit lasting just 19 days. But since this star is a red dwarf, being cooler and smaller than the Sun – and a medium-sized Earth star – TOI-715 b should not register very high temperatures.

Although we can only see this exoplanet as a distant dark dot as it passes in front of its red dwarf star, NASA created an image to show what TOI-715 b could look like, which it shared on the social network X, as we can see above.

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Rocky planets with red dwarf stars could be habitable

According to NASA, rocky planets orbiting red dwarf stars are currently the best bet in terms of being habitable. All because they meet some conditions suitable for life.

For example, they have shorter years due to their short orbits, and since red dwarf stars are cooler, the surface temperatures of these planets are not unbearably scorching.

Naturally, other parameters are needed, but these conditions are already ideal for creating a bioluminescent environment.