LOS ANGELES - NASA’s newest planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), has discovered three new worlds one slightly larger than Earth and two of a type not found in our solar system orbiting a nearby star, according to the U.S. space agency.

The planets straddle an observed gap in the sizes of known planets and promise to be among the most curious targets for future studies.

TESS Object of Interest (TOI) 270 is a faint, cool star more commonly identified by its catalog name: UCAC4 191-004642. The M-type dwarf star is about 40 percent smaller than the Sun in both size and mass, and it has a surface temperature about one-third cooler than the Sun’s, NASA said in a release Monday. The planetary system lies about 73 light-years away in the southern constellation of Pictor, said NASA.

“This system is exactly what TESS was designed to find -- small, temperate planets that pass, or transit, in front of an inactive host star.