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NASA satellite locates possibly habitable super-Earth 31 light years away - ABC 12 News


(CNN) - (08/02/19) - NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has finished its first year of observations in the southern sky and scientists say it found some interesting new exoplanets not that far from Earth.

A "super-Earth" 31 light-years away could have the right conditions to support liquid water and possibly sustain life. (Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via CNN)

Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars outside our solar system.

The satellite has found multiple exoplanets orbiting a star only 31 light years away - relatively close, in terms of interplanetary travel.

Several were noteworthy, for different reasons.

One orbits the star at a distance where the temperature might be just right to support liquid water, and therefore some forms of life on the surface. Researchers don't know if it's rocky like Earth, but it orbits its star every 55.7 days and has a temperature of -64 degrees Fahrenheit. An atmosphere could make it warmer.

Another is a close, transiting exoplanet and is ideal for measuring the composition of an atmosphere. The study's authors called it a "hot Earth," according to CNN, and said it 22 percent larger and 80 percent more massive than Earth.

A study about NASA's discoveries was published this week in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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