The recent news from NASA‘s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) space telescope has confirmed official findings of more than 2,200 potential candidate planets. The evidence captured proves to be a large feat for the space agency, revealing hundreds of smaller planets that could resemble the rocky structures of Earth.
For the first two years of its mission, TESS was originally expected to only find 1,600 planets. The satellite was initially launched in 2018 and is in a wide orbit between the Moon and the Earth. However, its mission has now extended to provide all-sky surveys over the Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres. As scientists work around the clock to confirm the discoveries, TESS’s findings show promising results of a number of known exoplanets, aka planets that orbit other stars.
In a statement from NASA, Natalia Guerrero, researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, “The exciting thing is to look at the map of TESS exoplanets as a kind of to-do list – with 2,000 things on it.”
There is still no word as to whether or not the more Earth-like planets could potentially be habitable. The TESS has also picked up additional unusual discoveries such as rocky planet, TOI-700, which is approximately 100 light-years away. TESS also encountered a “hot super-Earth”, LHS 3844 b, extremely close and only an 11-hour orbit away from Earth. Others include TOI 1690 b which is a rare remnant of a red giant star, and TOI 849 which appears to be a gas giant that lost its atmosphere.
NASA is still currently studying the candidate planets in greater detail.
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