Space & Astronomy
Five ancient rocky planets discovered
January 27, 2015 | 68 comments
The newly discovered worlds are far older than the Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A solar system dating back billions of years points to the likelihood that Earth-sized worlds are common.
The five rocky planets, which are located within our own galaxy, are too close to their parent star to support life but the importance of the discovery lies in the fact that they were formed several billion years ago when the Milky Way was still in its infancy.
Their existence points to the likelihood that Earth-sized worlds have been forming throughout most of the time that the universe has been around and should therefore be extremely common.
The planets were found thanks to data collected by the Kepler Space Telescope which has so far identified 1,103 worlds orbiting distant stars and over 4,000 additional planetary candidates.
"There are far-reaching implications for this discovery," said Tiago Campante of the University of Birmingham. "We now know that earth-sized planets have formed throughout most of the Universe’s 13.8 billion-year history, which could provide scope of the existence of ancient life."
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