NASA discovers planet very similar to Earth in the Milky Way
By Mirwais Adeel - Thu Jul 23 2015, 10:04 pm
The United States government agency for civilian space program, aeronautics and aerospace research – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Thursday that a planet very similar to Earth has been discovered in the Milky Way by their Kepler space telescope.
Named Kepler-452b, the planet could well have liquid water on the surface and could host alien life with NASA saying if plants were transferred there they would likely survive due to ‘substantial opportunity’ the planet could host for life.
Located in its star’s habitable zone – the region where life-sustaining liquid water is possible on the surface of a planet, Kepler-452b is said to be about 60% bigger than Earth.
It is about 1,400 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. “Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years – another Earth,” NASA said through a statement.
Kepler researcher Jon Jenkins quoted by CNN said while it’s a bit farther from its star than Earth is from the sun, its star is brighter, so the planet gets about the same amount of energy from its star as Earth does from the sun. And that sunlight would be very similar to Earth’s.
Jenkins further added that Kepler-452b could have a thicker atmosphere than Earth’s, as well as active volcanoes if the assumptions of planetary geologists are correct.
According to Jenkins it takes 385 days for the planet to orbit its star, very similar to Earth’s 365-day year, NASA said. And because it’s spent so long orbiting in this zone — 6 billion years — it’s had plenty of time to brew life.
“That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet,” he added.