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Intriguing discovery: New earth-size world found by Nasa’s TESS – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Nasa’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has made a groundbreaking discovery, identifying an exoplanet that lies in size between Earth and Venus. This newly discovered world, officially designated as a temperate Earth-size exoplanet, is the nearest of its kind found to date and presents exciting possibilities for further research and exploration.
Masayuki Kuzuhara, a project assistant professor at the Astrobiology Center in Tokyo, co-led the research team with Akihiko Fukui, a project assistant professor at the University of Tokyo. Kuzuhara expressed the significance of this discovery, saying, “We’ve found the nearest, transiting, temperate, Earth-size world located to date.” He added that although the planet’s atmosphere has not yet been confirmed, the team has been considering it as an “exo-Venus” due to its similar size and the amount of energy it receives from its star, akin to Venus in our solar system.
The discovery of this exoplanet, which orbits a nearby star, opens new avenues for scientists aiming to understand planetary characteristics and conditions that might support life. The planet’s temperate nature suggests that it exists within its star’s habitable zone, where conditions could be right for liquid water to exist, a key ingredient for life as we know it.
Kuzuhara and Fukui’s research team utilized TESS’s powerful observational capabilities to detect the exoplanet as it transited its host star, causing a slight dimming that was recorded by the satellite. This method of detection, known as the transit method, is a cornerstone of TESS’s mission to find new worlds beyond our solar system.
The newly discovered exoplanet’s potential similarities to Venus, combined with its proximity to Earth, make it a particularly intriguing target for future studies. Researchers hope to gather more data on its atmosphere, surface conditions, and potential for hosting life. If an atmosphere is present, it could offer insights into the planet’s climate and weather patterns, as well as its capacity to support life.
This discovery adds to the growing list of exoplanets identified by TESS, highlighting the satellite’s critical role in expanding our understanding of the universe. As scientists continue to analyze this exoplanet, they anticipate that further observations will yield important findings that contribute to the broader field of exoplanetary science and the ongoing quest to find life outside Earth.
The TESS mission, launched in 2018, aims to survey the brightest stars near Earth for transiting exoplanets, expanding our knowledge of the diverse range of planetary systems in our galaxy. The identification of this Earth-size exoplanet in the habitable zone of its star is a testament to the mission’s success and its potential to revolutionize our understanding of the universe.





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