Scientists with NASA’s Kepler mission say they believe they’ve found the most Earthlike planet.
The new-found Earth-like planet, KOI-172.02, is the closest analogue to Earth out of the 461 new planets. Lying in the habitable zone of a G-type star similar to our sun, it is just 1.5 times the radius of Earth.
Kepler scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View Christopher Burke says: «There is no better way to kickoff the start of the Kepler extended mission than to discover more possible outposts on the frontier of potentially life bearing worlds.»
KOI-172.02 orbits its star at a distance of abut 70 million miles, a little tighter than Earth’s orbit of 93 million miles from our sun. However, its star is slightly cooler than our own, giving the planet a comparable temperature to Earth’s and allowing the presence of liquid water. It has an orbit of 242 days.
These discoveries, though, by no means guarantee that the planet is suitable for life. Its mass isn’t known, and therefore nor is its density, and there’s no information on its atmosphere.