NASA Finds Closest Planet Yet to 'Another Earth'

NASA says its Kepler spacecraft has spotted a planet that is Earth's larger, older cousin.

Image via NASA

NASA announced today that its Kepler space telescope has found the closest thing yet to "another Earth" out there among the cosmos. 

The planet, which is about 4,200 light years away from this solar system, has been labeled Kepler-452b.

The discovery is big news because the planet's home star appears to be about the same size and brightness as our own sun. Even better, the planet orbits that star at about the same distance Earth orbits the sun, in what scientists call the "Goldilocks zone," where its possible for liquid water to exist. 

Kepler has spotted more than 1,000 planets outside of our solar system since it was launched in 2009, but scientists say Kepler-452b and its star are the closest to an Earth-sun twin that has been spotted yet. 

It's unknown what the planet is made of, but scientists said that based on its size there's a good chance it's rocky like our own. It's about 60 percent larger than Earth, and orbits its sun every 285 days as opposed to Earth's 365-day orbit. 


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