5 Facts About New Earth-Like Planet

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kepler 22-bWe've found an Earth-like planet! This is about the most exciting thing I've heard in a long time -- and for once it has nothing to do with a Kardashian or Dancing With the Stars. The planet is called Kepler 22-b, and it's in a galaxy far, far away -- 600 light years away to be exact.

I'm curious about everything we know about this planet so far! This is the first kind of planet we've ever discovered that could support life as we know it on Earth. So can we move there? How far away is it? What makes it able to support life? And what's with that name? Read on to find out everything you need to know about this thrilling discovery!

  1. It's too far away to visit. According to American Museum of Natural History astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, "(With) our fastest spacecraft today, it would take something like 300,000 years to get there .... Probably even longer."   
  2. It's warm. Kepler 22-b is in a "habitable zone" of its solar system -- the "just right" distance from a star that makes that planet not too hot, and not too cold. The average temperature on Kepler 22-b is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which means water could exist in the form of liquid.
  3. It's bigger than Earth. At about 2.5 times the size of Earth, it could be a gassy planet that might not be so easy to live on. But it could have moons that would be more habitable -- kind of like Pandora, the fictional planet-orbiting moon in Avatar.
  4. It's named after a telescope. Kepler 22-b was discovered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, a telescope sent into space in 2009 to search for habitable planets. Kepler 22-b is named after the 22nd star the Kepler telescope discovered, and it's the first (b) planet discovered revolving around that star (for some reason, there are no "a" planets). The telescope was named after 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler.
  5. There may be more like it. The Kepler telescope has detected hundreds of other new (to us) planets. It looks like 48 of them may also be in the habitable zone, and 10 of them Earth-sized.

Are you surprised to hear there's another planet that could be similar to Earth? What else are you wondering about Kepler 22-b?


Image via NASA

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.seal... .sealuchas.

I am not suprised in the least! But I do wonder how they are able to tell how warm it is there, if they dont know there is water and there is no way to visit it?

Domon... DomoniqueWS

this isn't the first one found if I am correct, there was another one found about a year or so ago.

hutch... hutchfam2007

Domonique, I remember that also, although no specifics, lol.
Im not at all surprised. If anyone is surprised that there are other habitable planets in other galaxies they are not very educated on the universe... the same goes for other life forms in other galaxies.

AyaTa... AyaTachihara

The planet you guys are referring to is one in the Gliese system. In fact, there now may be two planets in the system in the "habitable zone". I'm not an expert, but as far as I know the Gliese system is closer to us than Kepler. It's still very exciting news, but when they find something that might actually be reachable in our lifetime, thats when i'll break out the touchdown dance.

nonmember avatar Mia

@sealuchas
They figure out the temperature of far away objects by treating them as "black bodies" and measuring their black body radiation. Look it up.

nonmember avatar Pascal Lapointe

At 600 light-years, it's in our galaxy, not in a far, far away one. As a Star Trek fan, you may remember that Voyager was sent 70 000 light years away —at the other end of our gala

nonmember avatar Dani

this is somewhat freaking me out. So what does this mean for us? That after everyone ruins this planet we can just migrate to a new one and destroy it too?

nonmember avatar O!

As a science geek I'm so excited about every single earth-like planet found, even when it's much too far away to visit. It's amazing and humbling to know that our earth is not one of a kind, and that there could be a multitude of creatures and maybe even beings out there for us to discover. It makes me happy!

To answer your question, Dani, it means... well, nothing for us as a species. Being that it'd take thousands of years to reach it even taking into account the advances in technology, I'm pretty certain humanity would be finished before we even got the chance. Even if the planet is habitable and earth-like, numerous tests would need to be done to discern not only the state of the resident atmospheric conditions, oxygen concentrations, local bacterium, as well as flora and fauna. Then, even if those were acceptable, terraforming would need to be done.

Keep in mind that it would be really hard for humans to occupy ANY developed, life-bearing planet because the environment is so different from our own. Our bodies are used to Earth bacteria and the spores of Earth plants. The bacteria and flora of another planet would be hazardous and/or fatal to our unprepared immune systems. We'd have to adapt, but loads of people would die in the process.

Ronnie Nyadzani Mamidza

the gratest thing a human can ever archieve...........nah.............not kebler 22_b,no one will ever reach the planet...................only god can do that......................even more than that

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