A newly discovered planet resembling Earth and Jupiter’s moon Io has been found around a small red dwarf star called LP 791-18, only 86 light-years away from our solar system. The planet, named LP 791-18 d, was discovered using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. It orbits within its star’s habitable zone and is capable of sustaining an atmosphere, making it an important discovery in the study of how terrestrial worlds form and evolve.
LP 791-18 d is tidally locked, meaning it has perpetual day and night sides, and researchers suspect that it has active volcanic activity on its surface. This theory comes from the fact that LP 791-18 d orbits its star between two other planets, creating an elliptical orbit that heats the interior of the planet, causing internal friction that could potentially cause volcanic eruptions.
Researchers believe that LP 791-18 d may have an atmosphere similar to those of Earth, Venus, and Saturn’s moon Titan, and it will soon be studied by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to confirm its existence. This could be a crucial discovery in the search for life beyond our solar system, as LP 791-18 d offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance many scientific fields, including geology, planetary science, atmospheric science, and possibly astrobiology.