NASA has been talked about a lot this last month for their Pluto and Pluto related discovers, and now they are in the news once again but now it is because of their Kepler mission, not their New Horizons mission, however the news is probably even more exciting.

As the 1,030 confirmed planet discovery (4,696 planet candidates have been discovered) by the Kepler mission is the newly discovered Kepler-452b, which NASA say is the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone”, which joins another 11 previously discovered and smaller habitable zone candidate planets.

“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,” said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who led the team that discovered Kepler-452b. “It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth. That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet.”

452b_system_comparison

Despite called it near to Earth’s size, Kepler-452b is actually 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth, but despite this its 385-day orbit is just 5 per cent longer than Earth’s, however the planet is also 5 per cent farther from its parent star, Kepler-452. NASA says that Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, which is 1.5 billion years older than our sun, but has the same temperature, 20 per cent brighter and has a 10 per cent larger diameter.

As of yet Kepler-452b’s mass or composition hasn’t been revealed, but NASA says that by using previous research they can safely assume that it will be rocky.

The entire Kepler-452 system is 1,400 light years away from the constellation Cygnus.

You can find out more about this discovery and more of the discoveries by the Kepler mission at the source link below.

Source: NASA (Kepler)

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