World Kepler 22-b might support life
by, 12-08-2011 at 02:51 AM (1011 Views)
NASA on Monday announced the detection of a planet that could possibly be habitable. The world exists in the so-called "Goldilocks zone." The world may be able to support life as it is known to us. Six hundred light-years away, it has been named Kepler 22-b. It was detected by the orbiting Kepler space telescope. Researching this world will be the next large National Aeronautics and Space Administration project if it is workable for humans.
The so-called "Goldilocks zone," refers to a planet's distance from the star it orbits. This planet ends up being “not too hot and not too cold.” That means it can have life on it. Kepler 22-b is a comfy 72 degrees.
This detection will be published soon. This will be done in the Astrophysical Journal. Alan Boss is on the Kepler team and part of the Carnegie Institute. He said:
"This discovery supports the growing belief that we live in a universe crowded with life."
Similarities it Earth
Earth and Kepler 22-b have a lot in common. It isn’t just temperature. The mass and radius of its sun, a G5 star, is only a little bit smaller than ours is. There are 75 fewer days than an Earth year on Kepler 22-b with its 290-day orbit. The planet is 2.4 times the size of Earth. It might be made mostly of ocean.
"It's not beyond the realm of possibility that life could exist in such an ocean," said Natalie Batalha, the Kepler deputy science chief.
Just last week, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory declared the detection of Kepler-21b. That planet's radius is only 1.6 times that of the Earth. It has a surface temperature of 2,960 degrees Fahrenheit though as it is only 3.7 million miles from the sun.
How to find new planets with Kepler
The Kepler room telescope find planets by detecting a faint dip in the light from stars as the planet orbits past them. This dip cannot quickly be considered to be a planet. It has to occur three times for that to work. Kepler-22b has taken three years to confirm as a world. The first pass of the world was seen just three days after Kepler was launched in 2009.
The search for extraterrestrial life
Kepler has determined the existence of 2,326 planets since its launch, according to CNN. Steve Howell, a scientist on the Kepler team, said:
"It's tremendously exciting. We're moving out to orbital periods that are nearly and equal to the Earth, and that means very soon we're going to be finding [planets] very near the earth, what we'd call true earth analogs. We'll be there. We'll be there probably within a year, very easily."