NASA’s TESS satellite has discovered the smallest planet outside the solar system, called L 98-59b, the smallest discovered by TESS so far.
According to Space, L 98-59b is about 80% of the Earth’s size and 10% smaller than any planet previously discovered by TESS. Its star is about one-third of the Sun’s mass and is about 35 light-years away in the South Volans constellation.
“This is a great engineering and scientific achievement for TESS,” said Veselin Kostov, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. “For the studies of small planets, Short orbits around bright stars, it’s hard to detect such planets”.
Although L 98-59b is a record for TESS, smaller planets were detected by NASA’s Kepler industrial satellite.