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The First Habitable-zone Earth-sized Planet from TESS. III. Climate States and Characterization Prospects for TOI-700 d




  • Suissa, Gabrielle, Wolf, Eric T., Kopparapu, Ravi kumar, Villanueva, Geronimo L., Fauchez, Thomas, Mandell, Avi M., Arney, Giada, Gilbert, Emily A., Schlieder, Joshua E., Barclay, Thomas, Quintana, Elisa V., Lopez, Eric, Rodriguez, Joseph E. and Vanderburg, Andrew


  • We present self-consistent three-dimensional climate simulations of possible habitable states for the newly discovered habitable-zone Earth-sized planet TOI-700 d. We explore a variety of atmospheric compositions, pressures, and rotation states for both ocean-covered and completely desiccated planets in order to assess the planet's potential for habitability. For all 20 of our simulated cases, we use our climate model outputs to synthesize transmission spectra, combined-light spectra, and integrated broadband phase curves. These climatologically informed observables will help the community assess the technological capabilities necessary for future characterization of this planet-as well as similar transiting planets discovered in the future-and will provide a guide for distinguishing possible climate states if one day we do obtain sensitive spectral observations of a habitable planet around an M star. We find that TOI-700 d is a strong candidate for a habitable world and can potentially maintain temperate surface conditions under a wide variety of atmospheric compositions. Unfortunately, the spectral feature depths from the resulting transmission spectra and the peak flux and variations from our synthesized phase curves for TOI-700 d do not exceed 10 ppm. This will likely prohibit the James Webb Space Telescope from characterizing its atmosphere; however, this motivates the community to invest in future instrumentation that perhaps can one day reveal the true nature of TOI-700 d and to continue to search for similar planets around less distant stars.

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  • 2020



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