NASA reveals 10 new potentially Earth-like planets

The potential discoveries are part of the final catalog of results being released from the first Kepler space telescope mission.

Kepler has spotted more than 4,000 planet candidates and confirmed more than half of those. "Understanding their frequency in the galaxy will help inform the design of future NASA missions to directly image another Earth". It's also the final catalog from the spacecraft's view of the patch of sky in the Cygnus constellation.

The search for extraterrestrials just got some serious pin drops on the celestial map with the discovery of 10 new planets that may have life.

Kepler scientist Mario Perez says that means that "we are probably not alone" because four years of data show how common Earth-like planets can be.

Illustration depicting a sample of the many planets discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope. Only 50 of them made it into the elite club of Earth-size exoplanets orbiting in their sun's habitable zone.

Seven of the 10 newfound 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.

Of the 10 newly discovered Earth-size planets, one is the closest to Earth in size and the distance to its host star.

The James Webb Space Telescope, however, is capable of observing large exoplanets and detecting starlight filtered through their atmosphere, which will enable scientists to determine the atmospheric composition of the planets and analyze them for the presence of gases that can create a biological ecosystem. This is certainly the week for exploring such ideas, however, during the Kepler Science Conference, which runs from June 19-23, at NASA's Ames Research Center in California.




Detected in four separate transit candidates, each around 302 days apart, associated with a star that is slightly smaller and cooler than our Sun, KOI-7711 hasn't been verified as a confirmed exoplanet yet.

Susan Thompson, a Kepler research scientist for the SETI Institute and lead author of the new study, said the new catalog of Kepler data used sophisticated software to re-examine the light from 200,000 stars in the target area, finding about 34,000 possible "signals".

The original Kepler mission launched in 2009 and was completed in 2012.

In the search for life, Fulton believes it will be better to focus on super-Earths.

These planets are usually 1.6 times the size of Earth, with rocky terrain.

Almost all the planet candidates are in between the sizes of Earth and Neptune.

It has enough fuel to keep identifying candidates until summer 2018 and is helping bridge the gap between Kepler and TESS by identifying targets for the James Webb Space Telescope to observe. Researchers are now using the Hubble Space Telescope to determine if these planets had atmosphere. "We stopped doing it that way", she said during a NASA podcast interview.

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