New Planet Discovered That Might Hold Life

New Planet Discovered That Might Hold Life

Scientists that have been looking for planets far outside the solar system have found the very first alien sphere that has a rocky surface which may hold liquid water, thus the new planet may hold the crucial ingredient for existence as human beings know it and therefore might just hold life. Of all the many hundreds of exoplanets that have been discovered by astronomers all over the Earth in the past two decades, most of them are larger than gaseous Jupiter, some have been smaller than Mercury, and just a few were roughly the size of Earth.

However this planet is different. It is only slightly smaller than Earth and it is the furthest of five small spheres that are orbiting around an extremely common kind of star. Its surface is most likely rocky and while it travels its 130 day orbit around its own sun, it stays completely within its comfort zone. That is the region where it is the exact distance from its star for the temperatures that are on its surface to stay the perfect degrees. They are neither too cold nor too hot for reservoirs of liquid water to exist.

The newly discovered planet is about 500 light-years away, located inside the Milky Way constellation known as Cygnu. It was found by the space telescope Kepler, which has now discovered over 960 planets in various solar systems since it was launched over five years ago and it continues finding them.

This newest exoplanet’s identity was determined by a worldwide research team located at the SETI Institute and a NASA research center, along with astronomers from a dozen other investigation establishments.

Elisa V. Quintana, age 40, was the leader of the group and a SETI physicist. SETI is a place where researchers are able to continue gathering streams of information from the Kepler telescope in hopes they will be able to find even more Earth like exoplanets.

University of California astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, who has been a long time groundbreaker in the global search for far away planets stated that finding the planet was the absolute best case for a habitable planet found yet. The possibilities are absolutely rock-solid.

The group published a research report on the planet in the latest edition of the journal Science.

The planet has been named Kepler186f and is considered within 10 percent the size of Earth. The relatively cool sun it is orbiting is known as a M-type red dwarf. That is the type making up over 70 percent of all stars inside the Milky Way.

Scientists stated it took over four years of analysis to be sure that Kepler186f was indeed what they believed it to be, the most Earth like exoplanet that has been found yet. It is believed that there are actually many small bodies that orbit close to stars like this one, and by there being so many stars in the galaxy, researchers feel they should start to find more and more.

Also due to these red dwarf stars being so common all over the Milky Way, it is believed they could be excellent places to search for even more planets in the comfort zone. Scientists believe with this new planet they might just have found the first alien sphere that has a rocky surface which might hold liquid water. This means it just may have some sort of life.

By Kimberly Ruble


Christian Science Monitor

San Francisco Gate

Popular Mechanics

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