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NASA's Planet-hunting Kepler Telescope Spots Earth's Close Cousin
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  • http://english.dbw.cn   2015-07-24 13:54:44
     

    Scientists using the planet- hunting Kepler space telescope have discovered several new exoplanet candidates.

    Among them is a planet 14-hundred light-years away, which is being hailed as Earth's closest twin.

    Kepler-452b (PRO: four-fifty-two- b) is older and larger than the Earth and is thought to orbit a sun similar to our own.

     

    "Today we're announcing the discovery of an exoplanet that as far as we can tell is a pretty good close cousin to the earth and our sun"

    An historic moment in NASA's epic pursuit of earth-like planets, as the newly discovered Kepler-452b was officially unveiled.

    That honour went to administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington John Grunsfeld, who alongside other experts explained that the planet orbits it's star every 385 days, and according to Jon Jenkins, the man who led the discovery team, the surface of the planet stands a good chance of being rocky, cloudy and home to active volcanoes.

    "It would likely have a mass 5 times that of earth and surface gravity twice that of earth so you and I would weigh twice as much as we do now but only until we'd walked around for a few weeks and lost some serious pounds"

    Pouring over vast quantities of data collected by the Kepler telescope over several years, Astronomers had already discovered eight or nine planets similar in size to Earth in so-called "habitable" zones of their stars – where conditions are not too hot, not too cold, and could potentially support life, but with Kepler-452b scientists say they have found earth 2.0.

    Didier Queloz, professor of astrophysics at Cambridge University.

    "Keep working as well, and we keep being as enthusiastic and we keep designing program like we have done so far I mean it is for sure that one day the issue to detect life on another planet will solved"

    California based Astronomer, Jeff Coughlin says the Kepler telescope, which uses the largest camera ever launched into space, still has plenty more planet-hunting ahead.

    "You might be asking yourself hey is this the end, you just told me that you've analyzed everything in the Kepler data set, is this all we're going to get, is this the end, and my answer is heck no! there's a lot more to come"

    Kepler is now gathering other kinds of data to help scientists understand other areas of astrophysics, such as how planets are formed.

    A year from now NASA plans to release even more mission details, with the Kepler team already confident of further earth-like discoveries on the horizon.

    Author:    Source: CRI     Editor: Yang Fan

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