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NASA Discovers Exoplanet Using Northrop Grumman-Built James Webb Space Telescope; Mark Clampin Quoted

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Researchers at NASA have validated the existence of a planet orbiting another star using the Northrop Grumman-developed James Webb Space Telescope.

The exoplanet marks NASA’s first such discovery made using the Webb telescope and measures at about 99 percent of Earth’s diameter, the agency said on Thursday.

“Webb is bringing us closer and closer to a new understanding of Earth-like worlds outside our solar system, and the mission is only just getting started,” said Mark Clampin, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“These first observational results from an Earth-size, rocky planet open the door to many future possibilities for studying rocky planet atmospheres with Webb,” Clampin emphasized.

Classified as LHS 475 b, the exoplanet was a target of interest from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. It is located in the constellation Octans, which is 41 light-years away, and orbits its star in just two Earth-days.

Data from the observatory indicates that the LHS 475 b is a terrestrial planet that is warmer than Earth by a few hundred degrees. The team is still working to confirm its atmospheric composition.