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IN Science & Technology ON 11 Jan, 2016
An Earth-like planet orbiting around a nearby star within the habitable zone of our planet was recently discovered by the NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. Kepler-186f is about 500 light years away from ours and lies in the Cygnus constellation.
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This habitable zone around a planet is the area around a star within which a planetary-mass object with enough atmospheric pressure can support liquid water on their surfaces.
While there exist about 40 billion Earth-sized planets in our Milky Way galaxy, this is the first planet to be found within a habitable zone.
There are four other planets that orbit the star along with Kepler 186-f. Now, the thing is if that star resembles our Sun, then the probability rises exponentially, that some fellow being might be found on the planet.
"We know of just one planet where life exists – Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth", said Elisa Quintana, a research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, and lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science.
"Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward." The nearby star to Kepler-186f has half the mass and size as our Sun and only receives one-third of the energy that we receive from our Sun. Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130 days.
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