Earth-Like Planet Found
Published: Sunday, December 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 16:12
On March 7th of 2009 NASA developed the Kepler space telescope, whose primary purpose as a tool was to search and discover Earth-like planets orbiting stars in space. And on December 5th 2011, the Kepler space telescope made an astonishing new discovery, Kepler-22b.
Kepler-22b is 600 light years away from Earth, in the safe region around a star where temperatures are neither too cold nor too hot for liquid water to exist. The star Kepler22b orbits is similar to our sun, except astronomers believe it to be not only cooler but smaller, which is why Kepler-22b takes only 290 days to orbit it's "sun". Kepler-22b, itself, is 2.4 times the size of our Earth. With all of the information astronomers have recently discovered, we still don't know Kepler-22b's mass/composition; meaning that we don't know if the planet has a surface or not, or what that surface might be like.
After publicly releasing the news of this new discovery, Willaim Boruckiof NASA's Ames Research Center, revealed, "If this planet [Kepler-22b] has a surface, it would have a very nice temperature of some 70 degrees Fahrenheit. "
We have come a long way from recognizing outer space, to heliocentrism (which is the belief that other planets in our solar system revolve around the sun), to understanding that stars are balls of energy million of galaxies away. It is common knowledge that, not only does the Earth rotate on it's axis as it rotates around the sun, but we have even managed to get a degree on the tilt the Earth is on. Scientists and wandering minds have brought up questions and then searched for answers.
Thanks to great strides in astronomy, we know the dark side of the moon and the power, and danger, of the sun. We know information that Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus couldn't have been able to dream of. The youth of this country are now able to learn about all of the planets, moons, stars and space in general.
This is another milestone on our search to understand the world around us.
We started out as cavemen, only able to look into the sky and dream, and now we are able to look into the sky and discover information that takes us one step closer to the famous question, "Is there another planet out there, that can sustain life?"
World, meet Kepler-22b.