Earth-Sized Exoplanet With Fiery Volcanoes Discovered in Habitable Zone

The Tess satellite of NASA and the Spitzer Space Telescope provided the data that was used to find and investigate the planet, designated LP 791-18 d.

A remarkable discovery of an exoplanet the size of Earth that is outside of our solar system and may be home to life was made by a team of scientists led by University of Montreal experts. The planet, known as LP 791-18 d, has the potential to have volcanic eruptions on a par with those of Jupiter's moon Io, our solar system's most volcanically active body. Mohamad Ali-Dib, a researcher at the NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics, is a member of the group.

Data from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the Spitzer Space Telescope, and a number of ground-based observatories were used to find and study the planet. In particular, Dr. Ali-Dib oversaw the investigation into the stability of the planetary system and found that the planets' orbits are long-term stable. His study also placed strong restrictions on the existence of other, undiscovered planets the size of Earth in the system, as they may cause its orbits to become unstable.

The researchers describe how they discovered and examined the new planet in the publication titled "A temperate Earth-sized planet with tidal heating transiting an M6 star" that was published in the journal Nature. A tiny red dwarf star in the southern constellation Crater, some 90 light-years distant, was found to be orbited by LP 791-18 d. The newly found planet is just marginally bigger and more massive than Earth, according to research. In this system, two more planets known as LP 791-18 b and c are present. The bigger planet c exerted gravitational pull on planet d every time they passed one another in orbit. Planet d was continuously distorted by this, and the internal friction it caused significantly heated the planet's innards and led to volcanic activity on its surface.

The investigation also discovered that LP 791-18 d is tidally locked, which means that one side of it is always facing its star and the other is always in complete darkness. Tidal locking would help LP 791-18 d maintain an atmosphere and allow water to condense on its night side in addition to the substantial amount of volcanic activity suspected around the planet. This is important because a planet's capacity to support liquid water is essential to its prospective habitability.

It was just cleared for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to observe planet LP 791-18 c. The results of the current report suggest that comparable research should be done on LP 791-18 d to learn more about its capacity to support life.

"The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone that is potentially volcanically active is a huge step forward in the search for life outside of the solar system," claimed Ali-Dib. The JWST will be used to examine the system next to determine what it can reveal about its atmosphere.