Nasa confirms there's over 1,000 new planet candidates. Outer space is Growing
What else can we expect?
It’s an exciting time for NASA and astronomers. NASA has confirmed there's a new planet in space that they have discovered and NASA is calling the planet Kepler-22b for now. It is one of the most Earth-like planets in the middle of the habitable zone, meaning that it may be suitable for life. It’s the first planet in the "habitable zone” discovered. It’s the region around a star where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface. The planet is the smallest they have found so far. The discovery is a step closer for NASA to finding Earth-like planets.
Kepler-22b is larger than Earth and is located 600 light-years away. The planet has a nice surface temperature. It is estimated it has an average of 72 degrees, which also means liquid water could be there. This new planet has key traits it shares with Earth. It circles a star that could be the twin of our sun. The planet’s year is 290 days, which is very close to ours. The problem may be the planets a little big for life to exist on the surface. The planet is approximately 2.4 times the size of Earth. The surface is still unclear. It could be more like the gas-and-liquid Neptune or it could be mainly ocean or entirely rocky.
The Kepler mission team also recently announced, in addition to Kepler-22b they have recently discovered 1,094 new planet candidates as well. 207 of these planets are Earth sized. Kepler also announced that many planets are one to four times the size of Earth and are abundant in the galaxy. The Kepler team uses ground-based telescopes to observe planet candidates. Below are some of their additional findings
• 680 of the planet candidates are super Earth sized
• 203 are Jupiter size and 55 are larger than Jupiter
• 1,181 are Neptune size planet candidates
• 48 of the 1,094 planet candidate recent discoveries are genuine planets
The Kepler Mission
The Kepler mission’s goal is to find Earth-like planets orbiting other stars in the habitable zone. They are discovering a tremendous growth in planets that are not only Earth size, but potentially habitable. The Kepler space telescope was named after the German astronomer Johannes Kepler. It launched March 7, 2009 and has an expected mission lifetime of 3.5 years minimum. Since the launch of the Kepler space telescope, it has found 2,326 potential Earth-like planets and 139 of them are potentially habitable ones.
The SETI Institute, which searches for extraterrestrial life in the universe thru the Allen Telescope Array, says, “The Kepler space telescope’s findings, including Kepler-22b, are helpful in the effort to discover other life beyond Earth.” This just proves there’s so much more to learn and discover in the Universe and leaves the question in mind, “What else is out there”?