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Thread: NASA May Have Found the Most Earth-Like Planet to Date

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    NASA May Have Found the Most Earth-Like Planet to Date

    Nasa may have just found the closest thing to an Earth-like planet in the Universe.

    The US space agency is holding a press conference tomorrow, 23 July, to reveal the latest discoveries of its exoplanet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope. The scope, launched in 2009, seeks out planets that reside in the habitable zone, known colloquially as the Goldilocks zone. Planets in this location orbit their star at a safe enough distance to potentially host liquid water on their surface. The majority of the planets identified by Kepler have been giant gas planets, akin to Jupiter in our own Solar System, with only eight being less than twice Earth's size and in the Goldilocks zone. It's suspected that the Nasa announcement could confirm the identification of the most Earth-like planet to date.
    The two most Earth-like planets in this new discovery were named Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b, but both were larger than Earth and orbiting red dwarf stars far cooler than our own Sun. Nevertheless, it was calculated that the planets had a 60-70 percent chance of being rocky like Earth. This is one of the key factors planetary scientists seek out since, more often than not, the Earth-like exoplanets Kepler identifies are gaseous. The planets were given a 70 and 97 percent chance of being in the habitable zone, respectively. But like the "Earth-like" planets before them, both receive far more or less light than our own planet -- 40 percent more and two-thirds less respectively.

    The fact that Nasa is holding a press conference on the news, rather than it being released to the public via research papers as has often been the case in the past, suggests the mission may have discovered a candidate that even more closely resembles our own planet.
    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/...et-annoucement
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    Pack your bags, we found our new home after this one gets knocked off the Galaxy
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    NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.”

    The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone -- the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet -- of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.

    "On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0."

    Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet. While its mass and composition are not yet determined, previous research suggests that planets the size of Kepler-452b have a good chance of being rocky.

    While Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, its 385-day orbit is only 5 percent longer. The planet is 5 percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the Sun. Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun, has the same temperature, and is 20 percent brighter and has a diameter 10 percent larger.
    http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/na...ousin-to-earth
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    That 20% brighter number for the is a lot, depending on the atmospheric conditions on the planet. It probably wouldn't be habitable in regions similar to what's our tropical zone.

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    The IFLS article on it actually says that it's likely the oceans/surface water of the planet have evaporated due to the star it orbits being 1.5 billion years older than our Sun. This would lower the chances of it being habitable, but might also give scientists insights into what the future of the Earth could be a billion years from now.
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    you think you’'e bound to be okay, because you're in the safely moral majority."

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