Researchers from NASA announced that Kepler telescope has made an amazing discovery, a planet similar to Earth, which would be a perfect host to humans. It is the closest planet of this kind discovered so far, it’s located outside our solar system.
“It’s an amazing discovery that will stand in human history”, commented Geoff Marcy (University of California), one of the pioneers “planets hunters”.
The newly discovered planet is found in the “Goldilocks zone” as it is called by astronomers. An ideal region for life forms similar to those on Earth. In the Goldilocks zone, planet is neither too close to its star (resulting boiling water), but not too far (water freezes). The surface’s temperature of planet is 22 degrees Celsius, say scientists.
Researchers named the planet Kepler-22b and states that it resembles Earth in many aspects: orbiting a star similar to the Sun at about the same distance. One year on Kepler-22b lasts 290 days and it is likely that on the surface of the planet are rocks and water, say some researchers.
Kepler-22b differs from Earth in one significant aspect, is 2.4 times bigger than our planet. Therefore, researchers says it is unlikely to find life forms on its surface. It is possible that the planet is covered by a vast ocean. Natalie Batalha (Kepler researcher) said that “it is not impossible that this ocean could host life”.
Kepler-22b is located at 600 light years from Earth and is the nearest planet similar to Earth discovered so far. With current technology, a spacecraft would need 22 million years to make a journey from Earth to Kepler 22-b.
This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin,
said Douglas Hudgins.
Kepler’s results continue to demonstrate the importance of NASA’s science missions, which aim to answer some of the biggest questions about our place in the universe.
Eventually, I wonder how close we are from discovering Earth 2?