NASA has discovered a water planet 100 million light years from Earth that orbits its star once every 11 days.
According to a study published in The Astronomical Journal, a group of astronomers from the Université de Montréal discovered the ocean planet using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.
According to CNET, the planet covered in water, dubbed TOI-1452 b by scientists, is 100 million light years away from Earth and orbits within a binary star system in the Draco constellation.
In a press release, Université de Montréal Professor René Doyon stated, “I’m extremely proud of this discovery because it demonstrates the high calibre of our researchers and instrumentation.” We were able to detect this one-of-a-kind exoplanet thanks to the OMM, a special instrument designed in our labs called SPIRou, and an innovative analytic method developed by our research team.”
While more research is needed, it is believed that the newly discovered planet is 70% larger than Earth and has a density consistent with having a deep ocean.
“TOI-1452 b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet that we have found to date,” said study lead author Charles Cadieux.
“Its radius and mass imply a much lower density than one would expect for a planet composed primarily of metal and rock, such as Earth.”
It reminds me of a scene in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, in which astronauts visit Miller’s planet, which is covered by a seemingly endless shallow ocean. Honestly, all we need are some floating cafes and a shopping district to call it home.
Surprisingly, the planet is said to be close enough to its star to accumulate a mild temperature suitable for life.
However, researchers are still trying to figure out what kind of life could exist and how long it could survive.
Professor Doyon revealed that the exoplanet needed to be observed further with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the largest optical telescope in space known for its high infrared resolution and ability to capture shots deep into the universe.
“Our Webb Telescope observations will be critical to better understanding TOI-1452 b,” she said.
“We’ll book time on Webb as soon as we can to observe this strange and wonderful world.”