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Is Kepler - 22b Another Earth?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 6 20

Are There Worlds Like Ours Out There?

For centuries man has wondered if there are other worlds like our Earth somewhere in the Universe. Now this question has been answered. Yes, says NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) which recently made its finding of Kepler 22b public.

What Is Kepler-22b?

Kepler-22b is one of the many extrasolar planets or exoplanets so called because they lie beyond our solar system. It lies about 600 light years away from the Earth orbiting around its parent sun, G-type star Kepler-22, in 290 days. First discovered in 2009 by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope,it has been confirmed to be the a planet most like our Earth so far by NASA on December 5, 2011.

Search for another earth-like world goes long back in the history of science. With millions and millions of stars in the Universe, it could be safely assumed that there was a strong possibility that there may exist a star-planet system closely resembling our Earth and the Sun. Now with the aid of Kepler Space Telescope the NASA has found hundreds of such candidate planets which could satisfy such conditions. Out of such probable candidates, Kepler 22b has been confirmed to be the most earth-like planet discovered so far.

Why Kepler-22b Is  Considered an Earth-like Planet?

  • Right Distance
    Kepler-22b lies in the middle of the habitable zone of its sun where water could possibly exist to sustain life.

    The habitable zone is that space around a star where the possibility of life could exist. If a planet is too far from its sun, it would be too cold: if too near, it would be too hot – both these conditions preclude the possibility of conditions which could sustain life. 

    But the right distance from its host star is not the only condition for a planet to be considered to be an earth-like body. It should be of the right size and right temperature and this is what Kepler-22b seems to be having.
  • Right Temperature and Size
    Kepler -22b is 2.4 times the size of our Earth which puts it into the class of “super-Earths” and is 15% nearer to its sun than our Earth is to the Sun. Its sun or host star is slightly smaller than our Sun in mass and radius with the result that it gives out 25% less light than our Sun. So it is presumed that its near-surface temperature should be about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) which would be conducive to support life.

Is Kepler-22b Really Another Earth?

If by another earth, you mean a planet which is inhabited by human-like or other forms of life, the answer is nobody can say for sure.

The right dis

tance, temperature and size are characteristics that make Kepler -22b to be one of the likeliest planets to harbor life where water is expected to exist which is necessary for sustaining life. But scientists are not sure that water is actually there on Kepler -22b. In fact they don’t know if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid.

So what can be said about Kepler-22b at the most is that it is confirmed to be an Earth-like planet until we know more about it.  And Kepler-22b is not the only such planet. Astronomers have also identified other such planets many of which could be confirmed to be Earth-like in the near future after research.




Jan 19, 2012 8:26am
Love it! Hopefully interesting information like this will make its way into new science textbooks!
Jan 20, 2012 2:38am
To prove scientists have senses of humor [they did name subatomic particles "quarks" that come in "flavors" of "up", "down", etc.]the type of "just right" planet you've outlined here is called casually a "Goldilocks Planet".

People need to understand there are more of them out there -- once we destroy this one, we may need to figure out a way to get to one of them. Too bad that 22b is 600 light years off!).
Jan 20, 2012 8:51am
Thank you kbuzz and vicdillinger for reading and taking time to leave comments.
Jan 20, 2012 1:11pm
Kepler 22b cannot possibly be another earth because it is too close to its sun. But the fact that there are solar systems similar to our is very promising.
Jan 23, 2012 2:17am
The article clearly states the planet is "earth-like" (meaning it is in a similar, broad category of planets with similar cosmic evolutionary conditions ripe for life development).

He never said it was another Earth.
Jan 23, 2012 9:08pm
Thanks for clarifying the point so admirably - something that I should have done as the author of this article.
Jan 23, 2012 11:23pm
Sorry -- hope I didn't steal your thunder!
Jan 24, 2012 1:28am
Of course, not! Actually you helped me and are my friend now.

Thanks again
Jan 26, 2012 10:45am
It depends on how powerful the sun is. If as large as Sol, then it would be a disadvantage. But if smaller and cooler, it could resemble Earth. We just need to teleport out there to see for ourselves.
Jan 20, 2012 11:37pm
Interesting planet. Thanks for writing about it. :)
Jan 22, 2012 9:38pm
Thanks for your kind words
Jan 23, 2012 1:06am
No problem. :)
Jan 22, 2012 1:09pm
My kids really got a kick out of this! Thanks for the article.
Jan 22, 2012 9:37pm
Really glad.
Jan 24, 2012 3:08pm
I heard about this, pretty cool. It's like a real life "Pandora"!
Jan 25, 2012 3:24pm
Knew we'd find the Second Foundation eventually! ; )
Sep 8, 2012 9:53am
Hi--Just stumbled onto your article by accident but I am glad that I did--What a topic to stir the imagination and put one's mind on possibilities--Really like the way you handled the piece and give you 2 big thumbs up! I'll be back to read more of your stuff!
Sep 8, 2012 7:31pm
Thanks a lot for reading and leaving a comment. I am really glad you liked the article. It would be my pleasure if you read more of my stuff and give your impressions. Thanks again
Jan 29, 2014 1:22am
Great article. Fascinating and thought provoking stuff.
Jan 29, 2014 9:08am
I am glad you liked the article.
Thanks for your kind words
Jan 29, 2014 9:08am
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