NASA Discovered A Planet That Could Be Earth's 'Older, Bigger Cousin'


A NASA spacecraft discovered a planet roughly the size of Earth that could potentially sustain life.

According to Daily Mail, Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to be found orbiting a sun-like star's habitable zone, which means its distance from its sun may permit the existence of liquid water.

NASA said the planet, which is located around 1,400 light-years away, has a "substantial opportunity" to host life forms, largely because it has spent six billion years in its sun's habitable zone.

In a statement, Jon Jenkins, a NASA researcher who led the team that found Kepler-452b, said,

We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, bigger cousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth's evolving environment.
Earth's bigger, older cousin! @NASAKepler discovers new distant planet that's near-Earth-size: — NASA (@NASA) July 23, 2015

NASA even went as far as to suggest Earth's plants could probably survive on Kepler-452b.

Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger than Earth in diameter and is believed to have gravity about twice as strong as Earth's in addition to a thicker atmosphere, CNN reports.

Its surface is likely very rocky and may contain active volcanoes.

Kepler-452b orbits its star every 385 days, and despite being a little farther from its sun than Earth is from its sun, it gets approximately the same amount of sunlight as Earth because its sun is brighter than ours.

The planet was one of 12 planets in habitable zones found by the $600 million Kepler Space Telescope, which searches for Earth-like planets by detecting changes in the brightness of stars, since this could mean a planet is in between the telescope and the star.

Out of the 1,030 planets that have been discovered, only a few are less than twice the size of Earth and located in habitable zones.

Citations: Kepler 452b revealed as most similar planet to our own ever found with a substantial opportunity for life (Daily Mail), NASA finds Earths bigger older cousin (CNN)