On Tuesday evening, NASA held an extraordinary press conference announcing Kepler’ last results on exoplanets research: amazingly, the number of known alien planets has just gone up by more than 60%.
Kepler Telescope is a space probe launched by NASA in 2009 specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to find alien planets similar to Earth in or near the habitable zone. Currently, Kepler is our best instrument to haunt for distant worlds transiting their host stars.
The impact of the Kepler mission results on exoplanet research and stellar astrophysics is illustrated by the attendance of nearly 400 scientists from 30 different countries at the Kepler Science Conference,
said William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator at Ames.
We gather to celebrate and expand our collective success at the opening of a new era of astronomy.
Since its launch in 2009, Kepler has found more than 2000 planets outside our solar system and even twice candidates, and the numbers are increasing. Its pretty good at its job and NASA recent announcement confirm this.
Kepler has discovered no less than 1,284 new alien planets, the most exoplanets announced at one time; this is more than doubles the number of previously confirmed planets from Kepler.
Kepler is the first telescope for detecting small rocky planets in the habitable zone of their stars,
said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA.
Thanks to Kepler, we know exoplanets are common, most stars in our galaxy have planetary systems and they are potentially habitable planets. Knowing this is the first step to addressing whether are we alone in the universe.
We now know that exoplanets are common, most stars in our galaxy have planetary systems and a reasonable fraction of stars in our galaxy have potentially habitable planets,
Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., said.
Knowing this the first step toward addressing the question, ‘Are we alone in the universe?’
Now, the total number of exoplanet is about 3,200, and Kepler has found 2,235 of them, NASA officials said. Most of these planets are gas giants and Neptune-sized world but among them, there are some amazing worlds. Last year, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, the most earth like planet to date, a possible world found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun, 1.400 light years away from us.
That was really exciting news, but Kepler-452b is too far away, so maybe within these new discovered worlds we could find a world relatively close to us, near the habitable zone of its star, a world much like ours, a truly Earth 2.
“I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,
NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said.
We know where to look. We know how to look,
In most cases we have the technology, and we’re on a path to implementing it. And so I think we’re definitely on the road.
So how many planets are there? Tens of billions of Earth-sized habitable planets, studies show. In the future, NASA wants to increase its understanding from the habitable zone to habitable environments and living worlds.
With this discovery, we’re going to change the way we see the universe,
said Natalie Batalha, Kepler mission scientist.
You’ll look up at the sky and see pinpoints of light and think of them as planetary systems, not just stars. We’re going to know how life manifests itself in the galaxy.