NASA has announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, made by Kepler Space Telescope, its planet-hunting mission. It seems quite exciting for the astronomers because it could be our potential new home and brings the total number of planets so far discovered to 1,030. It has been described as an older, bigger cousin to our Earth.
Kepler-452b is a transiting planet, 1.6 times larger than our earth, discovered after four years of collecting data by NASA’s Kepler Mission. Although the mass and its composition are yet to be determined, researchers suggest that planets of this size have a tendency to be rocky. The planet orbits its host star, Kepler-452b in every 385 days. In comparison, our earth orbits the sun every 365 and a quarter days.
Kepler-425b, therefore, has believably the longest orbital period.
Kepler-452b, the parent star of the new planet, is 6-billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than the earth’s sun.
The new planet is 60% wider, more massive and has gravity stronger than that of our earth. Therefore, this would make anyone on the new planet feel twice as heavy.
Is Kepler-425b Habitable?
The new planet is said to be within the habitable zone of a star that seems quite similar to our earth’s sun. Kepler-452b is located 1,400 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation of Milky Way. This implies that it is far enough for its waters not to evaporate under the heat of its sun and close enough for the water not to freeze.
The planet has been in the habitable zone of Kepler-452b for about 6 billion years, providing an opportunity for life to emerge given the availability of all the necessary conditions that support life. The planet might have a lot of clouds and is likely to experience active volcanoes. Kepler-452b may also be slightly warmer than Earth.
According to John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, Kepler-452b is an exciting find because it brings the astronomers closer to finding an Earth 2.0.