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NASA discovers 715 new extrasolar planets

Posted on Thursday, 27 February, 2014 | Comment icon 12 comments

Kepler has observed more than 150,000 stars. Image Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

The record-breaking haul of newly discovered worlds comes courtesy of the Kepler Space Telescope.

The sheer volume of new planets was made possible thanks to a new verification technique that can be applied to several candidate planets at once instead of the previous method that involved having to check them one at a time.

"What we have been able to do with this is strike the mother lode, get a veritable exoplanet bonanza," said planetary scientist Jack Lissauer. "We have almost doubled just today the number of planets known to humanity."

Not a lot is known about these worlds but it is believed that most of them are in multiple-planet solar systems and at least four are located within the habitable zones of their parent stars.

"The Kepler team continues to amaze and excite us with their planet hunting results," said NASA's John Grunsfeld.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comments (12)

Tags: Kepler, Extrasolar Planet, NASA

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker on 27 February, 2014, 17:36
That is amazing!!! Now all we need is some way to get out there quick. Quicker then thousands of years anyway. I'd volunteer to go on an exploration mission to the stars, but my Wife says I can't go even to settle the Moon till she passes away and the Kids are all grown and settled. So that could be like 40 or 50 more years. Hopefully, I'll not be too old then. Come on science, I'm counting on you to keep me healthy enough to go to space in my 90s.
Comment icon #4 Posted by CRIPTIC CHAMELEON on 27 February, 2014, 20:45
Wow 715 newbies and 4 in the goldilocks zone, hmm interesting.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Mister on 27 February, 2014, 22:18
Cool! Now this is exciting.
Comment icon #6 Posted by psyche101 on 28 February, 2014, 1:45
Absolutely brilliant, however, this is how Kepler works isn't it? Some candidates take more than a year to orbit their suns, so it's a long wait between confirmations? I would think this would be continuing for some time even in those solar systems, Neptune takes 165 years to complete an orbit, so confirmation might be up to over 300 years to properly map a system like ours. With multiple missions happening at once, one would expect a rash of short orbit planets to come out all at once I would think?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Astra00 on 28 February, 2014, 5:15
Wow! very cool...
Comment icon #8 Posted by coolguy on 28 February, 2014, 5:24
Awesome indeed,there has to be some short of life on some of these planets.we are not the only planet with life on it
Comment icon #9 Posted by highdesert50 on 1 March, 2014, 13:05
I have to wonder if the nearly infinite number of probabilistic events that evolved a sentient human being will be recreated in another world. Maybe so, maybe not. But, if we find we are truly unique, I believe that will be equally enlightening. Astronomy will have provided the final bridge to understanding the importance of every one of us on this planet.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 1 March, 2014, 13:42
Even if sentient life is common humans will still be unique. The almost infinite variety that evolution offers means that whilst it may produce similar solutions for similar problems ( we see examples of parallel evolution on Earth) it will not produce exactly the same answer twice. Whether sentient life is common or rare, humanity is unique.
Comment icon #11 Posted by DieChecker on 2 March, 2014, 21:11
Unless... And I am not saying this is true... the ETs get involved and guide development. Otherwise, I'd agree and say that every planet with life would have life that would have developed very differently from anywhere else.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 2 March, 2014, 21:36
I'm glad you are not saying that it is true because this is the science section, not the third rate science FICTION section.

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