Windsor·Video

New planet shows 'promise' for life beyond Earth

NASA discovered a planet with its' Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). It's twice the size of earth and it's located 31 light-years away in the constellation Hydra.

A new planet could be habitable — peaking the interest of local astronomers

Randy Groundwater stands next to the telescope at Hallam Observatory in Comber. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

A newly discovered planet in our galaxy could possibly support life — and that has peaked the interest of local astronomers.

NASA discovered a planet with its' Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). It's twice the size of earth and is located 31 light-years away in the constellation Hydra, according to NASA's website.

"While researchers were looking at ground-based data to confirm the existence... they uncovered two additional worlds. The outermost planet, GJ 357 d, is especially intriguing to scientists because it receives as much energy from its star as Mars does from the Sun," NASA said on its website.

Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith 1:57

The planet is located in the "Goldilocks zone," according to Randy Groundwater, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Windsor Centre.

"That's the area the distance from the particular star that is not too hot, not too cold. And it allows the planet to, if it's the right composition, to possibly harbour life. And that's the ultimate question that astronomers are after, they want to know if there is life beyond the Earth."

Now that a NASA satellite has discovered a planet — believed to be habitable — Groundwater says we are one step closer to answering the "ultimate question" of humans are truly alone in this universe.

"That's a question that's been asked for ages and now we're on the brink of having the technology necessary," said Groundwater.

Randy Groundwater passionately explains what this discovery means to him as an astronomer. 1:01

Groundwater added most of the planets discovered in the last 25 years didn't necessarily hold the same potential for life because the conditions weren't right.

"This particular planet however, has been found to possibly, and it shows promise to to have the conditions necessary to harbour life," he said.

"Whether or not there is life out there, whether we confirm there is or if we find there isn't. If you think about it, both of those answers are profound."

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