Scientists have discovered a potentially habitable “super-Earth” exoplanet named TOI-715 b, located just 137 light-years away from Earth. The exoplanet, one and a half times the size of Earth, orbits within the habitable zone of a small, reddish star. This discovery has raised questions about the possibility of sustaining life beyond our solar system.
According to NASA, the proximity of TOI-715 b to its parent star puts it in a favorable position for the formation of liquid water on its surface. This is a crucial factor in determining the potential habitability of the exoplanet. The measurements of the habitable zone around the star have indicated that TOI-715 b could be maintaining the right temperature for water to exist.
Furthermore, scientists are also investigating the possibility of another Earth-sized planet in the same system. If confirmed, this planet would be the smallest habitable-zone planet discovered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) so far. The potential discovery of another habitable zone planet adds to the significance of the TOI-715 b finding.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is slated to observe TOI-715 b and other habitable-zone exoplanets discovered by TESS. The telescope’s capabilities include exploring the composition of exoplanet atmospheres, providing valuable insights into the potential presence of life outside of our solar system.
The research and discovery of TOI-715 b were led by scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. and published in the “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” journal. This finding marks a significant advancement in our understanding of exoplanets and the conditions necessary to sustain life.
As scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of the universe, the discovery of potentially habitable exoplanets like TOI-715 b offers a glimpse into the possibility of life beyond Earth. The ongoing exploration of the cosmos promises to shed light on the existence of habitable worlds and the potential for life to thrive in the vastness of space.