Q+A: NASA's TESS mission and TOI 700 Star System

What is NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission?

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission is a NASA space telescope that is designed to search for exoplanets using the transit method. It surveys the sky to find planets orbiting nearby stars.

What is TOI 700e?

TOI 700e is a rocky, Earth-sized planet that was discovered by the TESS mission within the habitable zone of its star, TOI 700. The habitable zone is the range of distances where liquid water could occur on a planet’s surface.

How many planets have been discovered in the TOI 700 system?

Astronomers have previously discovered three planets in the TOI 700 system, named TOI 700b, c, and d. They needed an additional year of TESS observations to discover TOI 700e, which makes the TOI 700 system an exciting prospect for additional follow-up.

What are the characteristics of the TOI 700 star system?

TOI 700 is a small, cool M dwarf star located around 100 light-years away in the southern constellation Dorado. TOI 700b is about 90% Earth’s size and orbits the star every 10 days. TOI 700c is over 2.5 times bigger than Earth and completes an orbit every 16 days. Planet d also orbits within the habitable zone, but the scientists needed an additional year of TESS observations to discover TOI 700e.

What is the significance of Habitable Zone and Tidal Locking for TOI 700e?

The newly discovered planet, TOI 700e, takes 28 days to orbit its star, placing it between planets c and d in the so-called optimistic habitable zone. Scientists define the optimistic habitable zone as the range of distances from a star where liquid surface water could be present at some point in a planet’s history. This area extends to either side of the conservative habitable zone, the range where researchers hypothesize liquid water could exist over most of the planet’s lifetime. TOI 700d orbits in this region. TOI 700e, which may also be tidally locked, is one of the planets that have the possibility of having liquid water on its surface.

What is the significance of the Discovery of TOI 700e?

The discovery of TOI 700e expands the known sample of potentially habitable rocky planets, and opens the door to future studies to understand the habitability of these worlds and search for signs of life on them. It also helps planetary scientists learn more about the history of our own solar system.

Written by IAS POINT

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