NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission has recently discovered a new Earth-like habitable planet, named TOI 700 e. The planet is 95% the size of our world and is the fourth planet to be detected orbiting the small, cool M dwarf star TOI 700.
The planet exists in the star’s habitable zone, where liquid water may potentially exist on the surface. Another planet in the system, discovered in 2020 and named TOI 700 d, is also the size of Earth and in the habitable zone.
According to lead study author Emily Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, “This is one of only a few systems with multiple, small, habitable-zone planets that we know of”. The discovery of the fourth planet was announced at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, and a study about the exoplanet has been accepted for publication by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The TESS project, which was started in 2018, observes big sections of the night sky for 27 days continuously. It searches for variations in light intensity that suggest the presence of planets orbiting their stars, a phenomenon known as transits. Initially, the project focused on observing the southern sky, then shifted to the northern sky. In 2020, it returned to studying the southern sky again and discovered the fourth planet in the TOI 700 system.
While the discovery of this new planet is exciting, it raises the question of how long it would take to travel to it. The planet is located 100 light years away, which is a distance that cannot be covered by current technology. The fastest spacecraft ever built, the Parker Solar Probe, travels at a speed of 430,000 miles per hour, which is still not fast enough to reach the planet within a human lifespan. It would take over 100,000 years to reach the planet at this speed.
In conclusion, the discovery of a new Earth-like habitable planet is an exciting development in the field of astronomy. However, it is important to remember that the distance between our planet and this new discovery is not something that can be traversed by current technology. It will take much more advanced technology and time to travel to this new planet, if it ever becomes possible.3