Exoplanet Kepler-1649c Discovered By NASA Is Very Similar To Earth!
From what it is like, to the potential of it being a brand new Earth that we can settle, join me as we explore how Exoplanet Kepler-1649 c discovered by NASA is very similar to Earth!
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When it comes to space, there are a lot of things that people on Earth are trying to learn or study, but without a doubt the biggest “quest” if you will is them finding another Earth. Or at the very least, another very similar Earth-like planet that’ll help us potentially expand across the galaxy.
You might think that this is an easy task, and yet, just about every single “Earth-like planet” that we have found over the last several decades have had major issues or problems that prohibit it from being something we truly can colonize. However, we are getting closer, and a brand new planet that has been found proves that we are getting ever closer to that goal.
The exoplanet that has been found circles a red dwarf star that lies 300 light-years from Earth, a new study reports. It completes one orbit every 19.5 Earth days, putting the alien planet in its host star’s “habitable zone,” the just-right range of distances where liquid water could exist on a world’s surface. (Because red dwarfs are so dim, their habitable zones lie quite close.)
Out of the 2,681 exoplanets spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope between 2009 and 2018, this one is the most similar in size, and potentially temperature, to our own planet, according to a new study.
The planet has been dubbed Kepler-1649c. It’s 1.06 times larger than Earth and receives about 75% the amount of light that Earth gets from the sun. This suggests that the surface temperature of the exoplanet could be similar to Earth. Which is a key factor in its potential of being a planet that we can colonize in the future.
“This intriguing, distant world gives us even greater hope that a second Earth lies among the stars, waiting to be found,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The data gathered by missions like Kepler and our Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will continue to yield amazing discoveries as the science community refines its abilities to look for promising planets year after year.”
Before you get your hopes up too much, it definitely needs to be noted that the planet is 300 light years from Earth at present. But, if there’s one that is out there that is Earth-like in the ways that matter, it could mean that there may be a closer one in reach. Though even traveling one light year from Earth in a good amount of time is a bit “impossible” for us with our current methods of travel. But in the future? You never know…
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Going back to how it was found, Kepler hunted for planets using the “transit method,” monitoring stars for tiny brightness dips caused by planets crossing their faces from the spacecraft’s perspective. Kepler did this in two phases: on its main mission, which lasted until 2013, and during an extended mission called K2, which wrapped up 17 months ago when the spacecraft ran out of fuel.
Both of these campaigns were very successful. Kepler spotted about two-thirds of the 4,100 confirmed exoplanets that astronomers have discovered to date. And the spacecraft’s observations suggest that 20-25% of the 200 billion or so stars in the Milky Way galaxy host rocky worlds in the habitable zone. That’s a lot of potentially life-supporting real estate.
“But aren’t we looking for more than just ‘rocky worlds’ to live on?” you might be asking. And the answer is yes, objectively we want to find a world that is as close to Earth as possible, which is why many feel the Alpha Centauri system would be our best bet in the future for galactic colonization. However, as we’re proving in our own solar system, we sometimes need to look for our “best options” and make due with the technology that we have. Just like how humanity is preparing to go to Mars despite it not being the most hospitable planet for humans. And as noted, while we’ve found many “Earth-Like” planets in the universe, we haven’t yet found one that is perfectly like Earth.
So thus, having all of these “options” gives us some leeway should the worst come to pass and we become desperately in need of a place to say.
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