Since its launch in April 2018, the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) space telescope has already managed to bring many discoveries and achievements to its account. This includes the discovery of the first exoplanet, comparable in size to the Earth, a full review of the southern hemisphere of the night sky, observation of a comet explosion in our solar system, etc. And recently, this telescope made its most significant discovery, it discovered its first Earth-like planet, which is located in a zone favorable for the emergence of life, where conditions on the planet’s surface allow liquid to exist there.
We remind our readers that at one time the Kepler space telescope discovered several thousand exoplanets located outside our system. After a series of failures and problems, the Kepler telescope went on a “well-deserved rest” and later its successor, the TESS telescope, was sent to space. The new telescope has the ability to explore systems with stars 30-100 times brighter than the Kepler telescope could do, and it will cover with its “gaze” a 400 times larger area of the night sky.
The recently discovered exoplanet, called TOI 700 d, was the first and, hopefully, not the last find, causing great interest among astronomers and planetologists. Note that such planets are quite rare, and the richest on such planets is the TRAPPIST 1 system, discovered in 2016.
The planet TOI 700 d revolves around a cold dwarf star TOI 700 class M, located about 100 light years from us. One of the other two planets of this system is also comparable in size to the Earth, and the second is 2.6 times larger than the Earth and, probably, it is a fairly typical gas planet. Note that the first discovery and study of the TOI 700 system was conducted by the TESS space telescope, and additional confirmation of the discovery was obtained using the Spitzer telescope.
The planet TOI 700 d is the planet farthest from the star in the system and the only one located in the favorable zone for life, the so-called Goldilocks zone. It is 20 percent larger than the Earth and it makes one revolution around the star in 37 days. All planets of the TOI 700 system are blocked by the gravitational forces of the central star, i.e. they do not rotate on their axis and are always turned to the star on one side, on which eternal day reigns.
So far, scientists have no way to determine with any accuracy the conditions prevailing on the surface of the planet TOI 700 d, but, based on all available data, they can make reasonable assumptions. Using data on the parameters of the planet and star of the TOI 700 system, scientists calculated about 20 mathematical models, most of which indicate the possibility of the planet having an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide, similar to the atmosphere that covered Mars in the first periods of its existence.
“Someday in the near future we will get more accurate spectra of light passing through the atmosphere of the planet TOI 700 d. Then we will compare these spectra with the spectra obtained using mathematical models and find out which model the planet corresponds to a greater extent” – write researchers, “All this is exciting, because it doesn’t matter what we learn about this planet, it will radically differ from what we have here on Earth”.