Sci-tech

NASA telescope finds 10 more plants that could have life

NASA telescope finds 10 more plants that could have life

Of these candidates, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets (planets outside Earth's solar system), and roughly 50 have been detected in habitable zones, meaning they're in the range of distance from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

It's important to note that NASA's rules for what defines a "planet" are incredibly exacting.

NASA announced the latest findings in its hunt for friendly exoplanets on Monday, and the haul includes 219 new candidates.

"They say not to count our chickens before they're hatched, but that's exactly what these results allow us to do based on probabilities that each egg (candidate) will hatch into a chick (bona fide planet)".

This artist rendering provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle, taken in 2015, depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of a star that is similar to our sun. To date, Kepler has found 4,034 planet candidates. It was like, 'Junk, junk, variable star - ooh, planet!' It would be like that. The distinction will help scientists home in on potential Earth-like planets and better the odds for finding life.

The data indicate "a major new division in the family tree of exoplanets", he said, "somewhat analogous to the discovery that mammals and lizards are separate branches on the tree of life".

The telescope was viewing the Cygnus constellation in our Milky Way galaxy. The team spent five years working with the operators of the ground-based Keck telescope in Hawaii to study 1,300 stars that hosted planets of these sizes. This is certainly the week for exploring such ideas, however, during the Kepler Science Conference, which runs from June 19-23, at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. But if a planet starts out with more hydrogen, is larger, or forms further out before moving inwards, it may end up as a mini-Neptune.

An exoplanet is a planet that exists outside of our own solar system. It has shown us these terrestrial worlds, and we still have all of this work to do to really understand how common Earths are in the galaxy. The exoplanet totals announced Monday reflect a final, extraordinarily detailed analysis of data collected over the first four years of Kepler's observations.

One of Kepler's other big surprises was a profusion of planets intermediate in size between Earth and Neptune.

Kepler performs its mission by gathering extremely stable observations of distant stars, and watches for when the light from those stars dims, due to a solid object (most likely a planet) passing between the telescope and that star.

Like Kepler, TESS will use a transit method for observing planets as they pass in front of their parent stars.

The Kepler Space Telescope is still in space, with limited motion working on the K2 mission.

NASA said that the Spitzer, Hubble and Kepler will continue to conduct follow-up studies.


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