New Earth-like planet Kepler 186f discovered

Last Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014 - 09:48

Zee Media Bureau

In a very important discovery, the most Earth-like planet in our galaxy has been discovered by NASA scientists. The rocky planet named Kepler 186f, is close to the size of Earth and has the potential to hold liquid water, which is critical for life.

Nested in the Cygnus constellation, Kepler-186f is about 500 light years from Earth. Its star is half the mass and size of the Sun. It is the outermost of five planets circling the star Kepler-186. The planet orbits its star once every 130 days, and it receives about a third of the solar radiation that Earth does, putting it on the edge of the habitable zone.

It was spotted by the Kepler telescope, which has found nearly 1,000 new worlds since its launch in 2009.

Elisa Quintana, exoplanet research scientist for the SETI Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center, says the planet is in the “Goldilocks zone,” just the right distance from its star that liquid water could exist on the planet.
But on the contrary, professor Sara Seager says that it doesn`t mean that the planet can support life.

According to Seager, it is unlikely that they will find out if its atmosphere could be habitable or not. The planet and its star are so far away and so faint that it’s difficult to observe its atmosphere at the moment.

Nevertheless, scientist Doug Hudgins remained hopeful about this finding and said, ``The discovery marks a milestone in the quest to find planets that are not just Earth-sized, but truly Earth-like``.

First Published: Friday, April 18, 2014 - 09:47

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