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Space & Astronomy

New 'habitable zone' planets discovered

By T.K. Randall
April 19, 2013 · Comment icon 10 comments

Image Credit: NASA
NASA's Kepler mission has found several new potentially habitable planets orbiting distant stars.
The Kepler spacecraft has been instrumental in the discovery of numerous worlds around distant stars and its latest finds are no exception. Astronomers have identified two new planetary systems known as Kepler-62 and Kepler-69, within which are three planets believed to be super-Earth-size bodies that exist within their star's habitable zone. While it isn't yet possible to tell if these planets are suitable for life, the discoveries offer a tantalizing glimpse of what could one day turn out to be habitable alien worlds.

"The Kepler spacecraft has certainly turned out to be a rock star of science," said NASA's John Grunsfeld. "The discovery of these rocky planets in the habitable zone brings us a bit closer to finding a place like home. It is only a matter of time before we know if the galaxy is home to a multitude of planets like Earth, or if we are a rarity."[!gad]The Kepler spacecraft has been instrumental in the discovery of numerous worlds around distant stars and its latest finds are no exception. Astronomers have identified two new planetary systems known as Kepler-62 and Kepler-69, within which are three planets believed to be super-Earth-size bodies that exist within their star's habitable zone. While it isn't yet possible to tell if these planets are suitable for life, the discoveries offer a tantalizing glimpse of what could one day turn out to be habitable alien worlds.

"The Kepler spacecraft has certainly turned out to be a rock star of science," said NASA's John Grunsfeld. "The discovery of these rocky planets in the habitable zone brings us a bit closer to finding a place like home. It is only a matter of time before we know if the galaxy is home to a multitude of planets like Earth, or if we are a rarity."
NASA's Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-size planets in the "habitable zone," the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water.


Source: NASA | Comments (10)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by QuiteContrary 11 years ago
I hope Earth isn't one of a kind.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
I hope Earth isn't one of a kind. Given the countless possibilities I suspect that Earth will be unique, in the same sort of way that every human on the planet is unique. But given that evidence suggests that there are billions of "Earth like" planets in just this galaxy then there must be countless millions similar enough for life as we know it to have arisen.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Asadora 11 years ago
I watched the NASA news briefing (which was on Ustream and NASA TV at 11am PST today) on this latest Kelper discovery and it was pretty awesome, though the reporter from the New Scientist seemed to be sweating a lot when he stood up to ask questions and he wasn't very sure that he understood the answers. Must have been an intern! Discovery is an awe-inspiring thing and so is watching it live when they announce it. Yay for Kepler! Kind Regards
Comment icon #4 Posted by Geladius 11 years ago
Bring on the twi'leks
Comment icon #5 Posted by marcos anthony toledo 11 years ago
Super Earths Kryptons anyone.
Comment icon #6 Posted by DBunker 11 years ago
Given the countless possibilities I suspect that Earth will be unique, in the same sort of way that every human on the planet is unique. But given that evidence suggests that there are billions of "Earth like" planets in just this galaxy then there must be countless millions similar enough for life as we know it to have arisen. .... with humans???
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
.... with humans??? How did you come to that conclusion from what I wrote? I thought what I had written was fairly simple to understand and would require no further explanation. It seems I was wrong. I mentioned humans as an analogy, to point out that although there are several billion of us and despite are similarities we are all still unique, in the same way that there are believed to be several billion Earth like worlds but none will be exactly like Earth. I then said that with that many Earth like worlds it is probable that many have life as we know it (actually I used the word "must" whic... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Andromedan Starseed 333 11 years ago
planet earth is not the only lucky planet to have life however what will be interesting and soon find out is that it might not be in the way most humanity thinks of or some refuse to admit.life exists on many levels and etc people.there are many planets close to earth.
Comment icon #9 Posted by mrknownothing 11 years ago
What an amazing time to be alive, hope I'm still here when we prove there is life on other planets.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Paranomali 11 years ago
Same here. I hope before I die, it will be common knowledge.


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