NASA’s new satellite called Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) started space exploration only last year but it has already found an exoplanet almost similar to Earth, the institute reports on Monday, April 15, 2019.
TESS is primarily commissioned to replace another NASA satellite, the Kepler – which was shut down after 9 years of operation – and pick up the baton of NASA’s space exploration missions. And it seems that it has been doing its job quite well as ten other planets have also been sighted and confirmed since then.
These confirmed sightings is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as NASA is set to observe a list of 1,822 previously catalogued stars and look for possible existence of exoplanets.
Earth-like Sighting by TESS a First
TESS has positively discovered several planets already since it started operation in July of 2018 but the recently discovered planet is the first one similar to Earth.
The planet that was discovered using TESS’s powerful telescopes is named HD-21749c. NASA said that its diameter is approximately 89% that of the Earth’s, making both planets the same in terms of size. From the data gathered, it was supposed that the planet likely has rocky environment and landscapes. Also, it is not necessarily habitable since its surface temperature could reach as high as 800○F (427○C). The high temperature is due to the fact that the planet orbits closely around its sun.
NASA further reported that the planet is quite close to our own Sun solar system – only 53 light-years away. This scenario is highly suitable for more detailed follow-up observations that could provide valuable data, most notably the possibility of measuring the planet’s mass. If done successfully the feat would be monumental and a first of its kind for TESS.
TESS also Discovered a Saturn-like Planet
Back in March of 2019, NASA has a confirmed sighting of a planet similar in size to Saturn. The exoplanet is named TOI 197.01 and is a gas giant just like Saturn as confirmed by data. Its radius is estimated to be about nine times of Earth’s, while its mass is about 60 times a heavy. It circles its star at a close proximity and revolves around it every 14 days.