This isn’t the first time we’ve discovered an exoplanet or planets with water. Some of Jupiter and Saturn’s moons are covered in thick water layers. However, the newly found planet is far wetter, even than Earth. The TOI-1452b is about 70 percent larger than Earth and roughly five times more massive. But its low density suggests that a large fraction of its mass is made up of lighter materials than those that make up the Earth’s internal structure, such as water. It’s thought to be composed of as much as 30 percent of water, while the Earth contains only less than 1 percent of water, making it an ideal candidate for an ocean planet.
“TOI-1452b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet that we have found to date,” said Dr. Charles Cadieux, lead author of the study, in a release. “Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than what one would expect for a planet that is basically made up of metal and rock, like Earth.”
The team first got on TOI-1452b’s trail through NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a space telescope that searches the entire sky for planetary systems close to our own. Because there was a slight decrease in the brightness of an area of the sky, the researchers believed a planet larger than Earth might be found within that area. So, they began searching in-depth and discovered TOI-1452b.