At a press conference Thursday, NASA announced that a planet extremely similar to Earth has been found—and could be teeming with alien life forms!
The new planet, called Kepler 452b by NASA, has been found orbiting a star that is similar to our sun in the constellation of Cygnus.
“This is the closest thing we’ve found to another Earth,” said Jon Jenkins, data analysis at NASA.
Planet Kepler is in what is called the “Goldilocks Zone,” which is the distance that a planet would need to be from its sun in order for water to exist on its surface.
As we know, liquid water is crucial in establishing and maintaining life.
Kepler is circling a star that is similar to our own sun, but is about 10 percent bigger, and it also orbits every 385 days—versus our 365 day cycle.
This newly discovered planet is about five times larger than Earth and would have approximately double the gravity. NASA experts also believe that there is a good chance that the surface is rocky like Earth—they also have agreed that volcanic activity is extremely likely as well.
NASA’s description of the planet:
“If you traveled to Kepler with an ark full of plants and animals, we believe that it would be able to sustain life. But hopefully there would also be a lot more raw materials to use, because the sunshine is perfect for Earth plants—it would feel a lot like home. “
Experts are even more encouraged by the new discovery because Kepler is about six billion years old—much older than our Earth.
It is not impossible that life could have evolved there, as it has here.
Kepler is 1,400 light years away, so in order to reach it, a new form of space transportation would need to be invented—however not all hope is lost.
In 2017 NASA will be launching the “Transitioning Exoplanet Survey Satellite,” which will look for planets around stars that are closer to Earth.
NASA agrees that in the coming future, the hope is to be able not only to find and identify an earth-like planet in another constellation, but also to be able to visit the new planet.
While there is no substitution for taking action and caring for our own planet, it is exciting to think about all of the possibilities that new discoveries by NASA could bring—because it seems like an awful waste of space if we are the only intelligent forms of life.
It seems that the sky may not be the limit after all.
Source: The Register UK
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina