NASA has announced that its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, more commonly called TESS, has discovered three new Earth-like planets. All three exoplanets are orbiting a nearby star, according to the space agency, which reports that two of the celestial bodies are not the type of planet found in our own solar system. The third exoplanet is described as ‘slightly larger than Earth.’
NASA’s TESS is an all-sky survey mission that is dedicated to finding new exoplanets located around nearby stars. The mission was launched a little over a year ago on a SpaceX rocket, kicking off what has been a very fruitful endeavor.
According to an announcement from the space agency today, TESS Object of Interest (TOI) 270 is an M-type dwarf star — one 40-percent smaller than our own Sun in both mass and size, fainter, and around one-third cooler. The star, as well as the three exoplanets orbiting it, are located 73 light-years from Earth in the Pictor constellation.
NASA is calling these three newly discovered planets TOI 270 b, TOI 207 c, and TOI 270 d with orbits lasting 3.4, 5.7, and 11.4 days, respectively. At this point in time, scientists believe TOI 270 b, which is 1.25 Earth’s radii, likely has a rocky landscape and a blistering temperature of 490F.
TOI 270 c, in comparison, is the largest in the system at 2.4 Earth radii with a cooler temperature of 300F. TOI 270 d is 2.1 Earth radii and ‘only’ 150F. Scientists estimate the two cooler planets may have environments similar to Neptune, meaning more gas than rock, though they’re best described as ‘mini-Neptunes,’ which aren’t found in our solar system.