Nasa has unveiled the discovery of 219 new potential planets that may get added to our solar system.
The discovery reveals that there are potential 10 “rocky” planets like Earth and which exist in their solar system’s ‘Goldilocks zone’. The planets are not too close to their star so the atmosphere is generally not so hot. Furthermore, they are not far away so the atmosphere is generally not too cold.
The major element that surprised researchers and made them consider the idea of having a new Earth-like planet that could accommodate living organisms is the existence of water.
In a tweet, Nasa said: “Scientists using @NASAKepler have identified 219 potential new worlds!”
The discoveries add a new number of potential exoplanets – planets outside our solar system – found by the Kepler space telescope to more than 4,000.
“This carefully measured catalogue is the foundation for directly answering one of the astronomy’s most compelling questions – how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?” said Susan Thompson, a research scientist at the SETI Institute, which considers signs of extra-terrestrial life.
A Total Of 4,034 Planets
And, in a statement, Nasa said: “There are now 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler. Of which, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth-size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.
“Additionally, results using Kepler data suggest two distinct size groupings of small planets. Both results have significant implications for the search for life.”
Mario Perez, a Kepler programme scientist at Nasa, focused on the necessity of using the space telescope.
“The Kepler data set is unique, as it is the only one containing a population of these near Earth-analogues – planets with roughly the same size and orbit as Earth,” he said.
“Understanding their frequency in the galaxy will help inform the design of future Nasa missions to directly image another Earth.”