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First Earth-Size planet: HD 21749b discovered by NASAs TESS Exoplanet Mission

First Earth-Size planet: HD 21749b discovered by NASAs TESS Exoplanet Mission

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (Nasa) latest planet-hunting probe TESS has discovered its first Earth-sized exoplanet.

The probe's newly discovered Earth-sized exoplanet is orbiting a star 53 light-years away.

The Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (Tess) also discovered a warm sub-Neptune-sized world in the same system, according to a study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

HD 21749b

With an orbit that takes about 36 days to complete, the sub-Neptune, HD 21749b, has the longest period of any of the TESS discoveries published so far.

Its host star has about 80 per cent of the mass of our Sun and is found about 53 light-years distant from Earth. HD 21749b has about 23 times Earth's mass and a radius of about 2.7 times Earth's.

Its density indicates the planet has substantial atmosphere but is not rocky, so it could potentially help astronomers understand the composition and evolution of cooler sub-Neptune planet atmospheres.

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