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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Science in Action …NASA discovers 10 new planets that could have life.

If you once thought that only 8 or 9 planets make up the solar system, well …bad news - you may have to think again! 


Planet-hunting telescope belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has found 10 new planets outside our solar system that are likely the right size and temperature to potentially have life on them, broadly hinting that we are probably not alone.

After 4 years of searching, the Kepler telescope has detected a total of 49 planets in the Goldilocks zone. And it only looked in a tiny part of the galaxy, one quarter of 1% of a galaxy that holds about 200 billion of stars. 7 of the 10 new found Earth-size planets circle stars that are just like ours, not cool dwarf ones that require a planet be quite close to its star for the right temperature. That doesn’t mean the planets have life, but some of the most basic requirements that life needs are there, upping the chances for life.
 
The red planet aka Mars
10 of the planets are potentially rocky, close to the size of Earth and within the habitable zone of the stars they orbit -- meaning they could support liquid water on their surface.

"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."

With the addition of this latest release, Kepler has now identified 4,034 planet candidates, and 2,335 of them have been confirmed as exoplanets. The mission has also found 50 candidates similar in size to Earth, with more than 30 of them confirmed. Of the 10 newly discovered Earth-size planets, one is the closest to Earth in size and the distance to its host star. 

In comparison, our solar system looks like it has three planets in the habitable zone of the sun: Mars, Venus and Earth. "I would only want to live on one of those," said Susan Thompson, a Kepler research scientist.

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