NASA finds earth-like planet; calls it earth’s cousin

RSTV Bureau

Courtesy: NASA

NASA claims it has discovered a new planet, Kepler-452b, beyond the solar system that is very similar to Earth. NASA discovered this new earth-like planet using the powerful Kepler telescope.

According to NASA, this new planet is about 60 per cent bigger than earth and is located about 1,400 light years away in constellation Cygnus.

“Today we are announcing the discovery of an Exoplanet that as far as we can tell is a pretty good, close cousin to the earth and our sun. This is about the closest so far, and I really emphasize the so far because the Kepler data set is very rich and the science community has full access to be able to extract future discoveries out of the data set, but today we are announcing the closest twin, so to speak, to earth or earth 2.0 that we found so far in the data set,” said John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Similar sized planets have been found before, but this one, known as Kepler-452b, is circling a star that is very similar but older than the sun at a distance about the same as Earth’s orbit.

“Today the earth is a little less lonely because there is a new kid on the block who moved in just right next door, in terms of the surface temperature of the star it orbits and the energy it receives from the star,” said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who led the team that discovered Kepler-452b.

Based on its size, scientists believe Kepler-452b is rocky and Earth-like and positioned at the right distance for liquid surface water, which is believed to be necessary for life.

“It would likely have a mass about five times that of earth and the surface gravity of twice that of earth. We also expect the atmosphere to be thicker and have more cloud cover and this planet would likely still have very active volcanoes,” explained Jenkins.