It's called "TOI 700 d" and is 100 light years away. (Photo: Playback Youtube / Nasa)
NASA, the US space agency, announced on Monday (6) the discovery of a planet the size of Earth, orbiting a star at a distance that makes it possible to have water in an area identified as habitable.
The planet is called "TOI 700 d" and is relatively close to Earth, 100 light years away, the agency said.
The discovery was made by the Tess satellite, "designed and launched specifically to find Earth-sized planets and orbiting nearby stars," said NASA Astrophysics Division director Paul Hertz.
Other similar planets have been discovered before, mainly by the old Kepler space telescope, but this is Tess's first, launched in 2018.
Tess discovered three planets orbiting the star, named "TOI 700 b", "c" and "d". Only the "d" is in the so-called living area. It is almost the size of the Earth (20% more), circulates the star in 37 days and receives 86% of the energy supplied by the Sun to Earth.
The researchers generated models based on the size and type of the star to predict atmosphere composition and surface temperature.
One of the simulations, according to NASA, indicates a planet covered by oceans, with "a dense atmosphere dominated by carbon dioxide, similar to Mars 'appearance at a young age, according to scientists' assumptions."
A face of this planet is always facing its star, as is the case of the moon with the earth, a phenomenon called synchronous rotation. This face would be constantly covered with clouds, according to this model.
Another simulation predicts an earthless version of the Earth, where winds would blow from the hidden side toward the illuminated face.
Several astronomers are now watching the planet with other instruments, trying to get new data that might match one of NASA's predicted models.
* Portugal's public television station
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