NASA Just Discovered Another Planet Just Like Earth, Colonization Next?

A new Earth-sized planet named TOI 700 e has just been discovered by scientists.

By James Brizuela | Published

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With the power of current astronomy technology, the cosmos are now being explored even further. Scientists have now discovered a new habitable planet that could be deemed the next Earth-sized planet. This new planet has been designated as TOI 700 e and exists around 100 lightyears away from Earth in the Dorado constellation.

NASA and MIT’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) were the ones to make the discovery of this new Earth-like planet. TOI 700 e is also joined by planets b,c, and d, all of which orbit the dwarf star known as TOI 700. Interestingly, TOI700 d was the first habitable planet that the TESS discovered.

All the TOI 700 planets are said to be in the “habitable zone,” meaning they might all be able to act as Earth-sized planets. The press release that was given to the American Astronomical Society also stated that TOI 700 e has a rocky surface, which is similar to our own home planet, making it far more likely to be able to sustain life.

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NASA also indicated that this is now the second Earth-sized planet that has been discovered. Both TOI 700 e and d being discovered in the same star system is “very rare.” There will now be more of a focus on the TOI 700 planetary system, in hopes that more discoveries like this can be found.

It appears that since the James Webb Space Telescope went live in 2021, we have been finding out far more about the skies than was initially discovered. This does not mean that we will be able to rocket up to space and colonize these new Earth-sized planets, but it is quite exciting to think about. Billionaires like Elon Musk of SpaceX and Richard Branson of Virgin Group have already been working on space travel, with Branson’s subsidiary Virgin Orbit handling a more recent rocket launch.

The new TESS satellite has been doing wonders for the astronomy community, as it has been able to discover much smaller planets. Emily Gilbert, one of the researchers that discovered the new Earth-sized planet, stated: “also shows how additional TESS observations help us find smaller and smaller worlds.” She also added that TOI 700 e was a lot harder to spot, considering its size in comparison to the other planets in the system.

Scientists and astronomers have discovered a great many new planets that could theoretically sustain life, but finding an Earth-sized planet is something that has brought a lot of excitement to the discovery. The rocky surface of TOI 700 e is also something that is going to be more closely observed. The technology being used currently is so advanced that we would imagine with more improvements, scientists will be able to fully determine if there is liquid on the planet as well.

We are certainly some years behind in being able to colonize any of these Earth-like planets that have been discovered so far away. However, with the right tools, astronomers can determine if such expeditions can be made in the future. We wouldn’t want to be the first volunteers to take that voyage, as we would likely never return, but we could all be living in a sci-fi movie sooner than we think.