NASA announced the discovery of 10 potentially habitable Earth-like planets outside our solar system Monday.
NASA discovered 219 new suspected planets using the Kepler Space Telescope. Ten of these planets are rocky and exist in their solar system’s “Goldilocks zone” — the region where conditions are just right for liquid water to exist. The presence of liquid water means that a planet could potentially develop life, or one day host a human colony.
These 10 worlds bring the total of potentially habitable planets up to 30.
“There are now 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler,” NASA said in a press statement. “Of which, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.”
Data on the 10 new planets is publicly available in NASA’s Exoplanet Archive.
“The Kepler data set is unique, as it is the only one containing a population of these near Earth-analogs – planets with roughly the same size and orbit as Earth,” Dr. Mario Perez, a scientist on NASA’s Kepler program, said in the press statement. “Understanding their frequency in the galaxy will help inform the design of future NASA missions to directly image another Earth.”
Some exoplanets closely resemble Earth and are a few of the best places to look for alien life.
This isn’t the first time the space agency has identified potentially inhabitable exoplanets. NASA announced the discover of 550 rocky planets in May, nine of which orbited their stars’ “Goldilocks Zones” and were of a similar size to Earth.
NASA announced the discovery of three other potentially habitable planets in a single solar system relatively close to Earth in February.
Scientists were even able to estimate the size and density of the planets. Researchers are currently using the Hubble Space Telescope to determine if these planets had atmosphere. One of the potentially inhabitable planets, dubbed TRAPPIST-1E, is very similar in size to Earth and likely has very similar temperatures. Another called TRAPPIST-1F is potentially covered in water.
It would take roughly 39 years to travel to these planets at light speed.
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