NASA’s huge new telescope may find 100,000 new worlds including ‘Super-Earths’

NASA’s new Roman Space Telescope is expected to find 100,000 new worlds according to astronomers.

The beast sized telescope forms part of NASA's next generation space telescopes that will deepen understanding of space.

The telescope is expected to launch in the mid-2020s and could discover Super-Earths, which are a little larger and more massive than the human planet, and mini-Neptunes, which are four to eight times smaller than Earth, according to EarthSky.

Other types of planets that could be discovered include gas giants that are similar to Jupiter and Saturn and humongous ice world planets like Uranus.

The new telescope will use microlensing to discover the new planets which monitor how light is effected by massive objects.

Using the technique astronomers can work out whether planets are orbiting stars in space.

The Roman will also use the traditional transit method which is when a planet passes between a star and its observer.

According to NASA: "Transits reveal an exoplanet not because we directly see it from many light-years away, but because the planet passing in front of its star ever so slightly dims its light."

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Ben Montet, a Scientia Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, said: "Microlensing events are rare and occur quickly, so you need to look at a lot of stars repeatedly and precisely measure brightness changes to detect them.

"Those are exactly the same things you need to do to find transiting planets, so by creating a robust microlensing survey, Roman will produce a nice transit survey as well."

Microlensing can even find rogue planets, which are ones that don’t circle any star, and are in fact just moving around freely in space.

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Some of the planets that are discovered may be in the 'habitable zone' which is where water could be found that is neither too hot or too cold.

Roman will see planets up to 26,000 light-years away, far exceeding the Kepler Space Telescope, which has concluded its mission, and viewed stars up to 2,000 light-years away.

Roman is named after Nancy Grace Roman who is considered to be the “mother” of the fame Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA’s associate administrator for science, said: "Nancy Grace Roman was a leader and advocate whose dedication contributed to NASA seriously pursuing the field of astrophysics and taking it to new heights.

"Her name deserves a place in the heavens she studied and opened for so many."

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