NASA announced Tuesday that its Kepler mission has found the first near-Earth-size planet with a sun very similar to our own.
AzFamily reported the planet, named Kepler-452b, is the smallest planet discovered to date that is orbiting in a habitable zone similar to Earth. The planet is the appropriate distance from its sun to allow water to pool on its surface and could potentially sustain life.
“On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our sun,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0.”
The discovery of what the American space agency said was the nearest thing yet to an “Earth 2.0” was based on the observations of the Kepler space telescope which has been scanning the Milky Way for Earth-like planets since 2009.
The planet Kepler-452b was identified by the Kepler space telescope and its discovery was publicly announced by NASA on 23 July 2015.
It is the first near-Earth-size planet discovered orbiting within the habitable zone of a star very similar to the Sun. It is the second-most Earth-like planet known to date, after Kepler-438b.
According to NASA Kepler measures the brightness of stars. The data will look like an EKG showing the heart beat. Whenever a planet passes in front of its parent star as viewed from the spacecraft, a tiny pulse or beat is produced.
From the repeated beats we can detect and verify the existence of Earth-size planets and learn about the orbit and size of the planet.