Could there be life on GJ 357 d ? Image Credit: YouTube / NASA Goddard
Astronomers have announced the discovery of a large, potentially habitable world in a nearby solar system.
Named GJ 357 d, the new planet has a mass approximately six times that of the Earth.
"GJ 357 d is located within the outer edge of its star's habitable zone, where it receives about the same amount of stellar energy from its star as Mars does from the Sun," said astronomer and study co-author Diana Kossakowski from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.
"If the planet has a dense atmosphere, which will take future studies to determine, it could trap enough heat to warm the planet and allow liquid water on its surface."
The new world was discovered quite unexpectedly using data from NASA's planet-hunting TESS satellite following the discovery of another planet - GJ 357 b - orbiting the same star.
"It was like a freebie, because it was discovered in the follow-up," said co-author Lisa Kaltenegger.
"I was on vacation at the time, and I was completely surprised."