NASA, with their Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered an Earth sized alien planet within the habitable zone of its star, TOI 700.

Three planets were discovered, the innermost planet, called TOI 700 b, is almost exactly Earth-size, is probably rocky and completes an orbit every 10 days. The middle planet, TOI 700 c, is 2.6 times larger than Earth — between the sizes of Earth and Neptune — orbits every 16 days and is likely a gas-dominated world. TOI 700 d, the outermost known planet in the system and the only one in the habitable zone, measures 20 larger than Earth, orbits every 37 days and receives from its star 86% of the energy that the Sun provides to Earth.

All of the planets are thought to be tidally locked to their star, which means they rotate once per orbit so that one side is constantly facing the star in the same way the Moon is tidally locked to Earth (we only ever see one side of it), but if you’ve ever read the amazing Shadeward series of books from Drew Wagar, you’ll know life can thrive on tidally locked worlds.  There’s plenty of hope for finding life.



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