NASA: ‘We are probably not alone’

NASA’s planet-chasing telescope has found ten new planets outside our nearby planetary group that are likely the correct size and temperature to possibly have life on them.

The ten planets are among 219 new planets reported by NASA.

The most recent research depends on perceptions made by Kepler amid the first four years of its primary mission. NASA declared on Monday its new discoveries — and it just looked in a little piece of the cosmic system.

There are currently 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler, as indicated by NASA, of which 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of about 50 close Earth-size livable zone candidates identified by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.

Mario Perez, Kepler program researcher in the Astrophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said the new disclosure implies that “we are probably not the only one” because four years of information demonstrate how basic Earth-like planets can be.

“The Kepler data set is unique, as it is the only one containing a population of these near Earth-analogs — planets with roughly the same size and orbit as Earth,” Perez said. “Understanding their frequency in the galaxy will help inform the design of future NASA missions to directly image another Earth.”

Researchers said this is a lift in the expectation for life somewhere else.

“This carefully-measured catalog is the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy’s most compelling questions — how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?” said Susan Thompson, Kepler research scientist for the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and lead author of the study.

NASA said a few of the ten new possibly life-supporting planets circle stars comparative in size to our sun.

“We like to think of this study as classifying planets in the same way that biologists identify new species of animals,” said Benjamin Fulton, a doctoral candidate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and lead author of the second study. “Finding two distinct groups of exoplanets is like discovering mammals and lizards make up distinct branches of a family tree.”


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