Mon | Oct 23, 2017

NASA telescope finds 10 more planets that could have life

Published:Tuesday | June 20, 2017 | 12:03 AM
One possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of a star that is similar to our sun.

WASHINGTON (AP) :

NASA's planet-hunting telescope has found 10 new planets outside our solar system that are likely the right size and temperature to potentially have life on them, broadly hinting that we are probably not alone.

After four years of searching, the Kepler telescope has detected a total of 49 planets in the Goldilocks zone. And it only looked in a tiny part of the galaxy, one quarter of one percent of a galaxy that holds about 200 billion of stars.

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. That doesn't mean the planets have life, but some of the most basic requirements that life needs are there, upping the chances for life.

"Are we alone? Maybe Kepler today has told us indirectly, although we need confirmation, that we are probably not alone," Kepler scientist Mario Perez said in yesterday's news conference.

Outside scientists agreed that this is a boost in the hope for life elsewhere.

"It implies that Earth-size planets in the habitable zone around sun-like stars are not rare," Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who was not part of the work, said in an email.