Scientists have always glanced at the stars, wondering if there’s at least one plant similar to ours in the vast universe. Although there were a lot of theories claiming that the universe must hold another plant that can sustain life, NASA has announced that it has discovered the new Earth.
According to data from Associated Press, NASA and the Kepler telescope confirmed the discovery and existence of a planet similar to Earth. The exoplanet was found using the Kepler telescope, and it’s not the only one. Kepler has been specifically designed to look for habitable planets. So far it has discovered more than 1,000 planets that could carry life.
However, out of all the other candidates, this particular planet, called Kepler-22b, could host life at a comfortable temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The planet is larger than Earth and has a 290 days orbit around a sun that’s similar to ours.
But, until humans can set foot on Kepler-22b there’s a long way. The planet is located some 600 light-years away or about 10 trillion kilometers in what astronomers call the Goldilocks zone, which is said to be the perfect place to find all the particulars of life. It would take a space shuttle about 22 million years to get there.
Geoff Marcy of University of California, Berkeley, said: “This is a phenomenal discovery in the course of human history”. He added that “this discovery shows that we Homo sapiens are straining our reach into the universe to find planets that remind us of home. We are almost there”. Marcy is one of the pioneers involved in looking for planets outside our solar system.
The problem at hand is, however, linked with the planet’s size. Kepler-22b is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth, which means it could be more like the gas and liquid Neptune. Chief Kepler scientist William Borucki thinks that the planet is somewhere between Earth and Neptune, but with a lot of rocky material.
Borucki declared: “Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet. The first transit was captured just three days after we declared the spacecraft operationally ready. We witnessed the defining third transit over the 2010 holiday season”.