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NASA’s Breakthrough Discovery of the First Truly “Earth-Like” Planet

NASA publicized the finding of the first truly Earth-like planet some time ago. This discovery was possible with the help of the Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in March of 2009. Since its launch, it has been hunting for Earth like planets. 

Douglas Caldwell, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, at the time of the find, said:

“It is the first terrestrial planet in the habitable zone around a star very similar to the Sun,”
Artist's Impression of Kepler 452b

It is a moment that would go down in history, serving as a turning for the discovery of Earth-like planets.

Kepler 452 is a Sun-like star that travels through the universe 1,400 light-years from Earth. From current observations it seems like Kepler 452 has the same surface temperature as our Sun and approximately the precise same energy output. That means both the Sun and Kepler 452 are G-typee yellow dwarfs.

Kepler 452’s habitability zone (the area near to the star in which liquid water could theoretically exist) is almost identical to the Sun’s.

The good thing is, there’s a planet that circles Kepler 452 in a path almost identical to Earth’s.

Remarkably, Earth and Kepler 452b don’t just have same orbits—they are twins in a plethora of other ways.

Kepler 452 system, showing the first Earth-like planet, Kepler 452b. Image credit: NASA

More observations have revealed that Kepler-452b (The earth like planet) is just five times as massive as the Earth (nearly 60% larger).

The parent star Kepler 452 is a little older than our own sun. Per se, researchers assert that Kepler 452b is a little older than Earth. Meaning that the planet has been in its star’s habitability zone for nearly 6 billion years.

This discovery has Kepler scientists absolutely floored.

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, said:

“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. This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0.”

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