Monday, December 5, 2011

Earth's Twin Found?

This news from NASA' Kepler Planet-finding Mission: Kepler Mission has confirmed the existence of an "earth-like" planet in our Galactic Backyard. This is just one of many possible planets they have found within the "habitable zone," or "Goldilocks Zone", the region around a star where liquid water could easily exist on a rocky planet's surface. Kepler has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling the previously known count. Ten of these candidates are "near-Earth-size" and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets and not just balls of gas or dwarfs.

According to Science News 12/05/2011 ; "The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. The planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Scientists don't yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a step closer to finding Earth-like planets. Kepler-22b is located 600 light-years away. While the planet is larger than Earth, its orbit of 290 days around a sun-like star resembles that of our world. The planet's host star belongs to the same class as our sun, called G-type, although it is slightly smaller and cooler."

So, it seems less and less likely every day that we are alone in this hugely huge vastly vast Universe...

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