Mysterious Earth-like planet deemed 'potentially habitable' by Nasa discovered floating around nearby star
NASA scientists have discovered a potentially habitable Earth-sized planet.
The exoplanet is called Kepler-1649c and it's located 300 light-years away in the habitable zone of its star.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said: "This intriguing, distant world gives us even greater hope that a second Earth lies among the stars, waiting to be found.
"The data gathered by missions like Kepler and our Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will continue to yield amazing discoveries as the science community refines its abilities to look for promising planets year after year."
Evidence of Kepler-1649c was spotted amongst data collected by the Kepler space telescope between 2009 and 2018.
It's located in the habitable zone of its star and receives about 75% of the light that Earth gets from the Sun.
Its surface temperature could therefore be similar to the one we have here.
The fact it's in the habitable zone of its star also suggests water could exist on the planet's surface.
Where there is water, there could be life.
However, the star that Kepler-1649c is orbiting is a red dwarf.
This means its much cooler and smaller than our Sun.
Kepler-1649c is much closer to this red dwarf than Earth is to The Sun, meaning radiation flares from the small star may threaten any potential life.
What is an exo-planet?
Here's what you need to know…
- An exoplanet is a planet that is located outside of our Solar System and one that is orbitting its own star, like how Earth orbits the Sun
- They are very hard to see with telescopes because they are often hidden by the brightness of their star
- Nasa sent the Kepler space telescope into orbit with the purpose of finding Earth sized exoplanets that might support life
- Over 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered so far and more missions to find even more exoplanets are planned
- A good way to spot an exoplanet is to look for "wobbly" stars because a disruption to star light can indicate that a planet is orbitting it and therefore blocking out light on occasion
- Expoplanets are very common in the Universe and the more we find that look like Earth the closer we get to knowing if we're not alone out there
In other space news, Nasa has revealed an impressive image of what looks like a dragon carved into Mars.
Recently released images of the Sun have shown it in the highest resolution ever.
And, Nasa has given out some new grants for innovative space projects.
What do you make of this planet discovery? Let us know in the comments…
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