While we are still trying to make sense of the exciting news of a new solar system with seven new planets discovered by NASA, the space agency has announced that they have discovered 219 more planets outside our solar system.
10 of these include “Rocky,” ‘Goldilocks zone’ planets like Earth that exist neither too close or too far from their star, thus possibly offering conducive conditions for life to thrive.
— NASA Kepler and K2 (@NASAKepler) June 19, 2017
The presence of water is also suspected, which is always seen as a key factor for the possibility of life.
The latest revelation brings the total number of suspected exoplanets found by the Kepler space telescope to more than 4,000.
Susan Thompson, who is a research scientist at the SETI Institute dedicated to searching for extra-terrestrial life said,
“This carefully measured catalogue is the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy’s most compelling questions – how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?”
And, in a statement, Nasa said:
“There are now 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler. Of which, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.
“Additionally, results using Kepler data suggest two distinct size groupings of small planets. Both results have significant implications for the search for life.”
The Kepler team estimated that the planets are roughly about 1.75 times the size of Earth, with the smaller ones being rocky and the ones 2 to 3.5 times the size of Earth hosting a gassy atmosphere like Neptune.
Mario Perez, a scientist at NASA’s Kepler, shared his opinion on the importance of the space telescope.
“The Kepler data set is unique, as it is the only one containing a population of these near Earth-analogues – planets with roughly the same size and orbit as Earth,” he said.
“Understanding their frequency in the galaxy will help inform the design of future Nasa missions to directly image another Earth.”