Say Hi To Earth 2.0! Historic Kepler Discovery Suggests We Are Not Alone

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I hope you have not forgotten the name Kepler 452b. Because in our hunt to discover if we are alone in this huge and interesting universe, a single life-harboring world among uncountable dead and uninhabitable planets, we may lastly have a right candidate for Earth 2.0. For the first time, astronomers have found what seems to be a rocky world circling a Sun-like star at almost precisely the same distance that Earth orbits our own Sun. While other potential habitable planets have been discovered before, this is the first that could possibly be another Earth. This might be the actual deal, people. Kepler 452b, discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, is situated 1,400 light-years from us. It circles a star that is 4% more huge and 10% brighter than our Sun. The planet itself is 1.6 times the size of Earth – making it a super-Earth – but the astronomers are honestly certain that it is a rocky world, because of its size and the type of star it circles.
Shown is an artist's illustration of Earth compared to Kepler 452b. NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Its orbit, 384.84 Earth days and 5% more away than our planet is from the Sun, places it right in its star’s habitable region, where it is not too hot or cold for liquid water to exist: the similar region Earth is in around the Sun. This is not the first Earth-sized planet found in a habitable zone; last year, the world was pulsating with the discovery of Kepler 186f, more alike in size to Earth. But that planet circled a red dwarf star, smaller and cooler than the Sun. Kepler 452b, extraordinarily, orbits nearly an exact replica of the Sun. Seth Shostak, the Director of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life), which was part of a team in the planet discovery, told IFLScience “Sun-like stars are people’s favorites, because we know of one circumstance [Earth] where that paid off [for life],”.

Shostak told to IFLScience that, such was the potential habitability of this world, SETI was previously studying it to find out if there were any marks of life coming from it, although so far to no benefit. He said “We have actually started looking at this with the Allen Telescope Array to check it for obvious signals of artificial origin. We haven’t looked over all the frequencies yet, but if there are any aliens on Kepler 452 they are being very coy.”

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