NASA's new exoplanet hunting telescope has yet discovered its smallest planet: a world somewhere between Earth's size and its younger sister Mars.
The planet is called L 98-59b because it sits in a nearby star system called L 98-59, which is 35 light years from our solar system in the southern constellation of the Volan. The L 98-59b is not the smallest exoplanet ever found – this record belongs to a small rock called Kepler-37b, which is only one fifth greater than the Earth's moon. But since NASA's Space Transmission Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spacecraft, which replaces the old Kepler telescope, is the smallest planet NASA has ever seen. L 98-59b is one of the three planets discovered in a system and reported in a report published today (June 27th) in The Astronomical Journal. The other two are 1.4 and 1.6 times wider than Earth.