Washington: NASA on Thursday confirmed the discovery of the first near-Earth-size planet, Kepler-452b, in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star by its Kelper Telescope.
The US space agency announced the major findings made by its planet-hunting mission, the Kepler Space Telescope, on its official website.
According to NASA, 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.
— NASA Kepler (@NASAKepler) July 23, 2015
This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth”, said NASA on its official site.
The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.
Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet, added NASA.
While the mass and composition of Kepler-452b 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.
Launched on March 7, 2009, by NASA, Kepler is a space observatory to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.