NASA said Monday it has found new evidence of 219 planets outside our Solar System. Ten of those exoplanets appear to be similar to the size of the Earth and orbit their stars in the habitable zone.
From our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon
The Kepler telescope had a glitch in 2013 that prevented it from taking any more data. This press release records the final batch of data analysis and the completion of the Kepler planet-finding mission. Most of these 2000 candidates have yet to be verified by other telescopes, so they remain “candidates” or KOI (Kepler Objects of Interest). Filtering the data for Earth-sized planets circling Sun-like stars, came up with a list of about 10. Of principal interest is the “most” earth-like, KOI 7711, which is 30% larger than Earth, a supposed period of 1 year, and a G-type star.
This is a far cry from the red-dwarf system that had 7 planets around a star that barely glowed deep red, and the “year” was as short as 3 days.
Should these candidates pan out, they would be followed up with extensive telescope time trying to detect water or oxygen in the atmosphere–the so-called bio-signatures of life. But until NASA launches a follow-up mission, there won’t be any more candidates.
See also: Exoplanets: Robbing the term “Earth-like” of meaning
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