EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University has helped a NASA team discover an Earth-sized planet that has the potential to support life.
The planet is named TOI-700 e. It’s an exoplanet, which means it is outside of our solar system.
TOI-700 e is fascinating because it exists within its star’s habitable zone, meaning the planet could be capable of supporting life.
The research team, which used data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, announced its finding on Tuesday at the Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.
Astronomers believe many such planets exist in our galaxy and across the universe. The discovery of TOI-700 e, along with the earlier confirmation of its host system, could provide unique opportunities to better explore exoplanets in the future.
“Even with more than 5,000 exoplanets discovered to date, TOI-700 e is a key example that we have a lot more to learn,” said Joey Rodriguez, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at MSU, who helped make the discovery.
Rodriguez was a senior researcher on the project, which was led by Emily Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
The pair were on the original team that confirmed the TOI-700 system in 2020, which consists of at least three planets: TOI-700 b, TOI-700 c and TOI-700 d.
You can read an interview with Rodriguez by visiting MSUToday.