Kepler-22b Alot Like EarthCredit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/science/space/30planet.html
Scientists have discovered a new planet called Kepler-22b. It is 600 million light years from earth. Needless to say, that is pretty far.
If you were to travel there using conventional means (Space Shuttle), it would 22 million years.
What makes this planet more exciting than others? It is not in our solar system so that is not it. We certainly aren't getting their anytime soon. So why all the fuss? The reason behind the craziness is the type of planet this is.
Kepler-22b is strangely like Earth. All the pictures the Kepler telescope has come up with show it to be a lot like earth. However, this is not a certainty.
The problem is that the planet is 3,600 trillion miles away and we won't know if it is really like earth or it may be just a hunk of rock. It could be filled with a liquid or gas, or it could be breathable air.
It is about 2.4 times larger than Earth and has a surface temperature of 22 degrees celsius. It orbits a star a lot like our sun according to NASA.
Because of the temperature of the surface, it is possible that the planet can withstand water. This planet is on the "Goldilocks zone" (Not to hot, not to cold).
But since no one will be able to make it there for a long time, no one is sure we will find out in our lifetime.
The exciting thing about this discovery is that the telescope has picked up thousands of planets in between Kepler-22b and Earth.
If one of these planets are discovered in our lifetime, we might be able to get to it.
And, because of the surface temperatures that the planets are thought to have, they might be able to hold some sort of life. Since there was over two thousand different planets discovered, there is a good possibility that one of them will sustain life.
The New York Times has a great article about the new planet.