In a nearby planetary system, there could be an inhabited super-Earth
Scientists have managed to establish that the star L 98-59 is located at a distance of 35 light years from Earth. Four planets orbit it at the same time, but astronomers believe there could be a fifth planet. Moreover, this planet may well turn out to be habitable, reports eso.org.
The two planets closest to a star do not contain enough water for life to exist. About 30% of the mass of the third planet is made up of water, which has transformed the planet into a real ocean.
Astronomers suggest that there may be another planet – a super-Earth, which lies directly in the habitable zone. Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio noted that the planet may well have a full-fledged atmosphere capable of supporting life and protecting its population.
In addition to bolstering the search for exoplanets that support life, the discovery could pave the way to understanding extraterrestrial weather. Scientists point out that conditions in the super-Earth’s atmosphere could allow liquid water droplets to form – and possibly even rain.
During the study, specialists used the method of radial velocities. With its help, it was possible to establish that the planet of the studied system has a mass that is approximately half the mass of Venus.
It should be noted that the first three planets of the system were discovered in 2019 using a satellite belonging to NASA – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).