Astronomers digging through data from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler 452b space telescope say they have discovered the closest Earth-like “twin” circling another star ever found.
“Today we’re announcing the closest twin, so to speak, to Earth 2.0, that we’ve found so far in the data set,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a briefing Thursday.
Although the planet is far too far away to photograph, advanced NASA technology means we know a surprising amount about this ‘New Earth’.
Of course when you hear something like Earth 2.0 discovery, things that comes into your mind is that, can we go there? How far can it be? Can we survive there?
Kepler 452b has been the perfect distance from its star for many billions of years. According to Jon Jenkins, the Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Centre, this means it’s possible that it hosts life on its surface, or at least could have at some point in its history.
It could have active volcanoes and water on its surface. Kepler 452b is possibly the right temperature to allow liquid water to exist on the surface – as far as we know, this is essential for supporting life.
After posting this news on the internet, many people were excited about this new discovery and many of them shared their thoughts.
“Its sun is 1.5 billon years older than Earth’s sun, so this planet has had much longer to develop intelligent life and its own civilization. It is likely NOT to be ours to colonize, even if we could get there” stated in one of the comments.
It is also stated there that with the size of that planet, the planet year cycle. It has a feeling the gravity will weigh humans down so much more, and it may not seem like much but the extra days may affect humans biology drastically.
“Best way to test out the livability on this planet… send our politicians and lawyers first. If they survive, we can rebuild our own and leave em. Problem solved” the netizen added.
The new planet is slightly larger than Earth, and is estimated to have twice the gravitational pull of our own planet. However, according to the scientists on the Kepler team, this doesn’t mean it couldn’t support life.
Jon Jenkins said that “People already adapt to heavy weights – humans are built to do this kind of thing. The human body has an amazing ability to repair itself – so over time, humans could adapt.”
However humans would not be able to transit to this new planet using conventional fuel based systems. It’s too far away and if we evolve to fuel-less type systems for space travel we can also fix the problems we have here on Earth at the same time. The problem is not the ingenuity, technology or the will to do so, the problem is Humans.
Kepler-452b is a confirmed planet, but this fresh catalogue of planets will require additional observations to be confirmed.
Of course, humans won’t be able to visit Kepler-452b or any of the candidate planets (assuming they’re confirmed) anytime soon, the scientists added.
“You and I probably won’t be traveling to any of these planets without some unexpected breakthrough, but our children’s children’s children may,” said Jeffrey Coughlin, a Kepler research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View who led the work on the new catalogue. “So I think this really gives you something to aim for. Kepler is the first step. We’re finding out if planets like Earth are common – and the answer seems, so far, to be yes.”