NASA enriches the list of potential new planets with 219 more candidates. From all these exoplanets discovered using the Kepler space telescope, 10 have characteristics similar to Earth, and might be suitable to host life.
- The Kepler space telescope discovered 2019 new possible planets.
- Some of the new candidates resemble Earth in size, but are smaller than Neptune.
- The findings bring scientists closer to achieving the quest of habitable planets.
On Monday, NASA announced the Kepler telescope finished its explorations of planets from the Cygnus constellation. It spotted a number of 2019 new candidates for the planet title, thus raising the total number of discoveries to 4,034.
So far, scientists have verified the discoveries, and characterized 2,335 as planets. Also, 30 of these new planets resemble Earth in terms of size and location, namely they are placed in the habitable zone of their star. Also, 20 others might have the same characteristics, but haven’t been verified yet.
Susan Thompson, a Kepler research scientist, made a few declarations regarding the newly discovered exoplanets. They were all smaller in diameter than Neptune, which measures around four times the diameter of Earth.
All these findings bring scientists closer to solving one of the mysteries that has always been on the mind of scientists. More precisely, they can help them find out if there are more planets in the galaxy which resemble Earth, and which might have all the conditions necessary to sustain life.
Apart from the additions to the Kepler planets, scientists also revealed they found two new groups of planets with sizes ranging from Earth-like to Neptune-like. Those resembling Neptune are mostly gaseous and have thick atmosphere, while the others are rather rocky, but have scarce atmosphere.
Even finding this distinction between planets is encouraging, since it helps scientists draw the line between what conditions are hospitable and which are inhospitable for life. All these announcements celebrate Kepler’s latest four-year mission, and the eighth time when it reveals new discoveries.
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