A new planet has been discovered. On January 6th, 2020 it was announced that TESS (NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) discovered the planet now known as TOI 700 d. The exoplanet is the first Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone and is 101.4 light-years away in the Dorado constellation. Plus, it orbits its star at a distance that would seem to allow water to remain liquid upon its surface. Although there is tons of excitement surrounding this discovery, the scientists still do not know much about it. They do know it’s a red dwarf that is somewhat older, so it has calmed down and there are no flares or bursts – not even in the 11 months of data they’ve collected with TESS. Another interesting fact is that they believe the planet to be tidally locked, which means the same side always faces its star. So one side is constant day and the other, constant night. They currently do not have a measurement on the planet’s mass; and that is going to be very difficult to get—perhaps several years.
However, what the discovering scientists do know is that this summer TESS will be pointed toward the planet and could help reveal new information. What do you think about the new discovery? Do you think scientists will get more questions answered this summer or uncover more mysteries?