Kepler-62e: The Ocean Planet
An artistic view of the system seen from Kepler-62f. The host star is slightly redder than our sun. The smaller exoplanets Kepler-62b (1.3 times Earth’s radius) & Kepler-62c (0.5 times Earth’s radius) are close to the star. Kepler-62d (2 times Earth’s radius) is significantly bigger and closer, Kepler-62e (1.6 times Earth’s radius) & Kepler-62f (1.4 times Earth’s radius) are relatively close to each other and both are sustaining water and rocky surface as suggested by the clouds’ color, water, atmosphere and rocks Credit: Danielle Futselaar/SETI Institute (Click to zoom)
The eloquently-named Kepler 62e orbits a red dwarf star unsurprisingly called Kepler-62, which has at least five planets caught in its orbit.
Two of these, Kepler-62e and 62f, are in the all-important habitable zone. (Note that astronomers start naming exoplanets with the letter “b,” so there is no Kepler-62a.)
Kepler-62f is slightly further from its parent star, and chances are this planet is completely frozen over. Kepler-62e, on the other hand, might be just the ticket.
Even though Kepler-62e’s orbit is at a distance on par with that of Mercury’s, because its parent star is much cooler than our sun, Kepler-62e still sits comfortably in the habitable zone.
The ocean has only been theorized through various models, but the chance of a global ocean existing on this distant world is quite high. However, until we get closer to Kepler-62e, we will never know for sure if it is indeed a wet, wet world in a solar system far, far away.