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December 05, 2011

Scientists Confirm Existence of Earth-Like Planet Kepler-22b

In this article, NASA announces perhaps the most exciting discovery from the Kepler spacecraft to date. About 600 lightyears away, Kepler has identified planet Kepler 22b, a planet not so different from Earth. Kepler 22b is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, has a pleasant surface temperature of 72 degrees fahrenheit, and orbits a star at just the right distance to allow water to exist in liquid form. Kepler 22b could potentially be an important milestone in the search for life outside our solar system.

Posted by derbach at December 5, 2011 08:42 PM

Comments

I find it stunning that astronomers can determine these facts about the planet's size and surface temperature when its 600 light years away - this is an incredible example of how powerful our technology is today. I'm curious to see where technology will be in 50 years or so...

Posted by: mhymes at December 5, 2011 10:41 PM

It's not very likely that life will exist there, since those conditions are necessary for life, but those alone don't guarantee life. Still this is big thing, for we might want to send bacteria there someday and see what happens.

Posted by: wangrt at December 8, 2011 02:02 AM

I agree, after studying the history of earths formation, it takes so many things to go right in order for life to form and evolve to eventually be sustained. It would be pretty cool if we found evidence that it existed on this planet though.

Posted by: balerner at December 10, 2011 12:49 AM

The Kepler mission has done an amazing job in producing planetary discoveries and observations. To find a planet in the habitable zone so soon into its mission is also very encouraging. While 600 light years isn't all that far away, it is at a distance where NASA observation is limited. It will be interesting to see if any closer planets in the habitable zone exist.

Posted by: mikeeng at December 11, 2011 10:42 PM

The Kepler mission has done an amazing job in producing planetary discoveries and observations. To find a planet in the habitable zone so soon into its mission is also very encouraging. While 600 light years isn't all that far away, it is at a distance where NASA observation is limited. It will be interesting to see if any closer planets in the habitable zone exist.

Posted by: mikeeng at December 11, 2011 10:43 PM

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