NASA has made a shocking discovery of an alien, Earth-like planet outside the solar system.
HD 21749b was discovered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
It is 53 light years from Earth and is very similar to our home planet too.
It is a sub-Neptune and almost three times bigger than our planet, making it more likely to be gaseous rather than rocky.
Discovery team leader Diana Dragomir told MIT News: “We think this planet wouldn’t be as gaseous as Neptune or Uranus, which are mostly hydrogen and really puffy.
“The planet probably has an atmosphere composed of heavy molecules, such as water.
“We know a lot about atmospheres of hot planets, but because it’s very hard to find small planets that orbit farther from their stars, and are therefore cooler, we haven’t been able to learn much about these smaller, cooler planets.
“But here we were lucky, and caught this one, and can now study it in more detail.”
It is the first planet to be found with the longest orbit by TESS.
“It’s just a little larger and hotter than Earth, making it a prime test subject”
Corey S Powell
Also years are incredibly short on HD 21749b as it journeys around its star in 36 days.
Speaking to Forbes, Space expert Corey S Powell said: “What’s most interesting about HD 21749b is precisely that it is not strange!
“It’s just a little larger and hotter than Earth, making it a prime test subject.
“Truly Earthlike planets will be harder to study.
“This planet will offer a great learning experience in how to find and examine a true Earth twin.
“It will probably also teach us a lot about which kinds of worlds really could support life, and which ones turn out to be harsh and inhospitable on closer examination.
“There is no equivalent planet in our solar system, and we don’t know much about what conditions might be like on such a world. Now we can find out!”